Mermaids and jousting and King’s Nuts, oh my!
Just south of Dallas lies one of the largest and most beloved Renaissance Festivals in the country. Handsome knights on horseback, mermaid lagoons, a vast array of entertainment on a whopping twenty-seven stages: Scarborough Renaissance Festival has it all. For over thirty years, people have flocked to Waxahachie for the annual eight-week spring festival and it’s easy to see why. The thirty-five acre theme park is filled with artisans, bakers, shops, performers, and epic photo ops. My friend Rebecca (of Disney Dinners fame) and I had a blast at Scarborough last weekend and I’m here to tell you all about it!
There are some amazing food options at Scarborough. You just have to know what to order! Normally I would not have ordered Chicken on a Stick but I saw one walk by and Rebecca and I went on a hunt. The season grilled chicken was juicy and filling and one of the healthier options in the village. We added fries and were pleasantly surprised at how crispy they were. You wouldn’t think a theme park has particularly great fries but Scarborough does!
Just to be clear, the answer to, “Do you want cheese sticks?” will always be yes. Do not ever mistake my ardent love of lobster and oysters and champagne to mean that I’m over fried cheese. I’m still American. For me the marina and ranch left something to be desired but the “fryed cheese” was perfectly crispy and melty.
The crepes are a must if you’re a crepe person. You can choose from many savory and sweet options. We went with strawberries and creme and didn’t leave a bite on the plate, but the ham and cheese prepared before ours had our mouths watering.
King’s Nuts are all over the park and for good reason. The cinnamon-sugar pecans and almonds are dangerously addictive with their salty-sweet goodness.
My favorite thing at Scarborough though is the spinach pie. Swoon! It’s worth the admission just to get one or a dozen. Who am I to judge? I got a second on my way out to save for breakfast the next morning. The buttery croissant dough is made from scratch, as all of their pastries are, and filled with feta cheese and spinach. I would eat one morning, noon, and night. The bakery’s cookies are also fun. They’re more cake-y than a crispy cookie and at just $1, one of the cheaper treats in the village.
I’ll need to do much more research for a comprehensive food post in the future, but all of these were home runs. We didn’t eat anything we didn’t like! Whatever you order, get fries with it. Just trust us! See all of the food options here.
The jousting is practically a requirement. Promise me you won’t go without watching a joust! Pro tip: you’ll want to get to the arena half an hour before showtime for a good seat. Otherwise you’ll be standing on the end like we were.
One fun fact about jousting at Scarborough: the storyline is actually continued throughout the day so that you can actually watch all three performances as one three-part show. It’s not the same show repeated three times.
Hang near the arena for a few minutes after the joust for a photo op with one of the ridiculously handsome knights. Hopefully you won’t shyly squeak out, “Nice riding!” like I did. I’m an equestrian for pete’s sake, and that’s all I could think to say? I am rendered speechless by long haired men on horseback. It’s a curse.
There are over 200 shows performed each day at Scarborough . I recommend picking a few that are of interest to you and covering the area nearby for the hour prior to the show, but be flexible too. We were looking for the stock photo op (which we never did find) and stumbled across a falconry show that was one of my favorite activities of the day! How often can you be up close and personal with a bald eagle?
The fire whip was fun too. Adam infused a lot humor in his bull whip act, something I wasn’t expecting.
The mermaid lagoon is worth the short wait for some fun photos, or to mesmerize your children. The mermaids are spread out so the line may seem long but you’re actually seeing mermaids throughout the line.
“Think of how often you would wear that 1500s dress!” Rebecca exclaimed as we were on the hunt for chicken on a stick. She knows me so well. Sadly I did not buy a Renaissance costume but you certainly have plenty of opportunities to do so at Scarborough. You’ll find mugs,glasswork, candles, bows and arrows, jewelry, apparel, furniture, and everything in between. Many of the shops have demonstrations so check the schedule before you go.
One of my favorite shops was Karneval Masque, which offers intricate masks of all shapes and sizes. Some have lace or feathers, others give you a beak or ears. They’re a ball to try on.
The village itself is lovely to stroll through. There’s plenty of shade (important to note in Texas!) and plenty to do and see. You don’t have to find entertainment at Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Entertainment finds you.
Know before you go:
- Tickets are $28 for adults, $13 for children (children under four are free)
- You can purchase tickets in advance online and save yourself a beast of a line when you arrive
- Mornings are way less crowded
- You don’t have to dress up but you certainly can if you’d like
- The village is on 35 acres so wear shoes made for walkin’
- Some paths can get muddy if it’s rained, so plan your footwear accordingly
- It’s kid-friendly but there might be a few scary characters walking around (we saw two guests with large falcon heads) so warn kids about costumes before you go
- You could easily spend a whole weekend at Scarborough and many do, so book a nearby hotel if you want to see everything
- There are themed weekends (we went during Celtic weekend and thoroughly enjoyed the bagpipes) so check the schedule to see what special events are happening that weekend
- Parking is free! Yay!
- Some food booths only accept cash
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Disclaimer: This article is intended to be a general resource. Any recommendations are based on personal opinion. A portion of this trip may have been compensated but opinions are my own, always. I’m not a fan of negativity so if I don’t like something, I don’t write about it.
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