The Scarborough Fair
The Scarborough Fair
The Scarborough Fair in Waxahachie is a 35 acre Texas gem for all of those who love everything renaissance. With an average attendance of 200,000 and a beginning year of 1981, from April through Memorial Day it has brought smiles to multiple generations of Texans and others who flock in from neighboring states. Each weekend has a special theme or event which keeps people coming back. It spouts jousting, mermaids, knights, gypsy’s and much more.
I was particularly happy to revisit the fair, not because I haven’t been since my younger years (which I was!) but because this was a first time experience for my son and husband. Although we arrived at 10am sharp, which is their opening time, there was already a line of cars leading from the highway and down the dusty road that lead to the fair. It was another thirty minutes before we actually saw the Scarborough entrance and parked. Everyone had the same idea about getting there early.
The fun starts before you are in the gates, as a rather drunk looking peasant went on making fun of himself and others, making both children and adults laugh. While in line you were encouraged by another peasant to feel free to push and shove your way to the front, since that’s how you apparently get things done in medieval times!
When you enter through the gates our first site was a tough, stoic looking man with a sword that watched on as more people flooded in behind us. There are three sections of the fair Crown Meadow, Holly Field, and Pecan Grove. It was Legends of the Seas Weekend which meant there were pirates, wenches & mermaids everywhere. Now this by no means indicates that there wasn’t anything else to look at. Most of the place maintained its little bit of everything feel.
Ninety percent of the shops were housed in permanent peasant and renaissance structures throughout the acres. One of the largest structures we saw was the Crown Pavilion which had a wedding in progress. We paused to watch the King announce the couple husband and wife and announced that the feast would now commence. Every year true lovers of ren fairs, fight for a spot to get married by the king and hold their wedding party among others who share their passion.
As we walked into the Holly Field we watched on as people flooded the shops to get their handcrafted items and get their own renaissance wear. If you don’t want to pay the cost to buy your own kilts, dresses, corsets, and more, because trust me the items can run high, there is a rental shop by the front gate or just come in your own stashed ren faire clothing. Come on you know you have some.
While in the Holly Field we watched a comedy sword fight at the Carrillon Stage and a man wiggle his way out of chains and a straight jacket at the turtle dome. The best $5 I spent the whole day was to throw tomatoes at a man who had some funny and at times crude things to say. For those with thin skin there is a sign that warns passerby’s that it is an insulting comedy show. Another fun thing attraction my son and I both enjoyed was the Monster Museum which along with bigfoot contained a dead Dobby house elf. A must see is the parade that comes through, it has kings and queens, gypsies, shop keepers with their signs held up high, steampunk folks and peasants. A rather muddy looking peasant was so kind as to smudge some mud on the tip of my nose before going on her merry way.
Finally we made our way to the Pecan Grove, which was much shadier then the Holly field. The Holly Field had less trees and a much clearer two road path. The Pecan Grove consisted in more trees and more of a gypsy and Elvin feel. With structures having staircases that wrapped around and up the buildings and gypsy wagons strewn throughout the area. This is also the area in which my husband finally broke down and got the full Scottish outfit he always wanted. The kilt, shirt, belt and sporran cost a pretty penny so those who are hoping to get your authentic wear there then I suggest you go with a budget in mind.
This is also where we got to see the mermaids which are also a must see! Two were in water tanks and one was hanging out in a giant shell. You are encouraged to ask them questions and please do, one was from Hawaii and one was from the black sea. Both had the cutest answers and never broke character. Pick your questions while you wait in line to walk through.
By the time we made our way out of the Holly Field it was already 3pm and that was with us not being able to see all the shows. This is where I sprinkle in some advice; we only scheduled one day to be there which in my opinion was mistake. If you go, make sure to get the full weekend tickets or come back on another themed weekend as well. Texas is hot, and the sites you see are not to be rushed. A two day minimum should be set aside for this faire, many hotels in the area run specials during the festival, so enjoy a day for each side of the grounds and then head back home or to your room to rest your aching feet. Also please do indulge in the food, all of it is Texas sized!
Why not add some flare to your Renaissance Costume this year with some of our more extravagant neck adornments.