The Insider’s Guide to Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie, Texas

By Marshall Hinsley

Are you going to Scarborough Fair? We’ve got tips, discount information and more to make the most of your trip to North Texas’ most popular Renaissance-ish experience just outside of Waxahachie, Texas.

Now in its 43rd year, Scarborough Renaissance Festival near Waxahachie, Texas is an annual Renaissance-themed event that every year draws more than 200,000 fair goers from throughout the state and beyond to its shows, crafts and food booths — and to the spectacle of its always-in-character staff.

The festival is open for only eight weekends each year, so to help you get the most out of your trip, Waxahachie 360 offers its Waxahachie Insider’s Guide to Scarborough Renaissance Festival, updated for the 2024 season.

2024 Dates, Time and Location

Scarborough Renaissance Festival is open from 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays from April 6 – May 27, 2024. The final day of the festival is Memorial Day, the one Monday that it’s open, on May 27, 2024.

S.R.F. is located at 2511 FM 66, Waxahachie, TX 75167.

Tickets, Discounts and Payment Options

Tickets purchased at the gate for Scarborough Renaissance Festival are $38.00 for adults, $18.00 for children 5 – 12 years old, and free for children under 5 years of age.

Discounted tickets are available from North Texas locations of Albertsons and Tom Thumb, which offer $3.00 off for adult tickets and $1.00 off for children’s tickets.

Additionally, S.R.F. is offering specials for 2024:

Free Kids Days:

Children 12 years old and younger are admitted for free on Kids Free Weekend, presented by Whataburger from April 6 – April 7, 2024, when no children’s ticket is required for up to three children with each paid adult.

Children 12 years and younger are admitted for free on Mother’s Day, May 12, 2024. On that day, no children’s ticket is required for up to three children with each paid adult.

Military Discount:

Active duty and veterans with military identification with up to four family members may receive $3.00 off adult tickets at the gate.

Senior Discounts:

Seniors 65 years od and older with valid identification may receive $2.00 off adult tickets at the gate. Additionally, on the opening weekend only, April 6 and April 7, 2024. the senior discount is $10.00 off adult ticket at the gate with valid identification.

Payment Options:

Although Scarborough Renaissance Festival features a low- to no-tech premises, credit cards are now accepted at most food and drink locations nd at the Scarborough souvenir shops, the ticket office, and most artisan shops. All games and rides still accept only cash.

The Park

Set in the rural area just 30 minutes south of Dallas, between Waxahachie and Maypearl, the festival grounds consist of more than 35 acres of castles, shops, eateries, stages and sights to be seen, with more than 225 permanent structures designed to replicate the feel of a 16th Century English village.

“Having said that, it is a very easy site to navigate because of your setup like a figure eight. So it is very easy to get from one end of the festival and back again, because of the way it’s laid out,” says Scarborough Renaissance Festival’s Director of Marketing & Communications, Helaine Thompson.

A jousting knight on horseback at Scarborough Renaissance Festival
A knight performs the feat of jousting at Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Submitted photo.

The Daily Schedule

Fair goers throughout the eight-week run of S.R.F. may want to coordinate their visit to the daily schedule of the festival’s key events:

Full Combat Jousting: 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Children’s Knighting Ceremony: 3:30 p.m. at the Royal Marquee, open to all children.

Grand Parade: 1:00 p.m.

Wine Tasting: 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. at Cat and Fiddle Tavern. $40 per person.

Beer tasting: 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. at the Village Green. $40 per person.

woman in 16th century attire
S.R.F. recreates the feel of a 16th Century English Village, with villagers in time period-appropriate garb. Submitted photo.

2024 Weekend Themes and Special Events

Each weekend during Scarborough Renaissance Festival has a special theme with unique events. The 2024 lineup consists of the following:

April 6-7, 2024
Kids Free Weekend – Up to three children 12 years old and younger are admitted free with each paid adult. Kids 4 and younger are always free. Additionally, it’s Senior’s Discount Weekend with seniors age 65 years old and older getting $10.00 off their ticket at the gate.

April 13-14, 2024
Artisan Showcase Weekend

April 20-21, 2024
Celtic Ale Weekend – featuring Signature beer at a discount, Children’s Highland Games and special Celtic entertainment.

April 27, 2024
Deaf Day – special accommodations for guests with hearing impairment.

April 27-28, 2024
Viking and Barbarian Weekend – Featuring a viking and barbarian costume contest for adults and children, and stein holding contest and a tug of war.

May 4-5, 2024
Live the Fantasy and Spring Celebration – featuring fantasy-themed costume contests for adults and children, a fairy initiation, Fandom trivia, and a special celebration of spring.

May 11-12, 2024
Chivalry Weekend – featuring a marriage vow renewal ceremony, chivalry lessons, a free admission for up to three children age 12 years and younger with each paid adult on Mother’s Day.

May 18-19, 2024
Legend of the Seas – featuring a sea-themed costume contest for children and adults, and all-new games and contests that are all about the sea.

May 25-27, 2024
The Last Huzzah – featuring a stein holding competition on Saturday and Sunday, Topsy-Turvy Day on Sunday, and a Memorial Day veterans parade and Fallen Heroes Tribute on Monday.

The Entertainment

As you work your way around the park, you’ll see plenty of jugglers, belly dancers, vaudeville-esque comedians, sword fighters, bagpipe players, acrobats, and courtly dancers performing on various stages and at times walking within the crowds. What you won’t see are loudspeakers, electronics or anything else that distracts from the suspension-of-disbelief of this modern fantasy loosely based on the time of King Henry VIII.

“The thing that makes us unique from an entertainment side, we actually have two different types of entertainment that go on at the festival. One is our stage and lane entertainers. And these are primarily very specific shows that take place throughout the festival — we have 20 different stages that all this takes place on. The other part of that is we have a 95-member performing company that is a part of Scarborough and they’re the ones who make up the villagers and our royal court,” Helaine says.

On more than 20 stages throughout the festival, around 200 performances take place each day. Perhaps the most popular of the performances is the thrice daily full combat jousting sessions.

Among the must-see attractions at Scarborough Renaissance Festival is the Birds of Prey exhibit conducted by Last Chance Forever Birds of Prey Conservancy. During the show, the fair’s royal falconer interacts with a variety of birds of prey and presents a conservation message about the need to protect hawks, owls, vultures and eagles from loss of habitat and other threats.

A man holding a bird of prey at Scarborough Fare in Waxahachie, Texas
The Birds of Prey exhibition at Scarborough Renaissance Festival has become a crowd favorite for more than two decades. Submitted photo.

For 2024, the festival’s main theatrical theme is the visitation of King Henry the Eighth and Catherine Parr to Scarborough Village. Parr was the British Monarch’s sixth wife.

The portrayal of King Henry the Eighth and Catherine Parr visiting the 16th Century Scarborough Village is the main theme of Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Submitted photo.

“The Village of Scarborough is throwing a festival in honor of a visit from King Henry and Queen Catherine,” Helaine says.

The festival combines 16th Century historical allusions with modern fantasy as magical creatures, mermaids and anachronistic characters entertain the crowds.

Woman dressed as a mermaid with a young girl at S.R.F. in Waxahachie, Texas
The Mermaid Lagoon has been redesigned and updated for the 2024 season. Submitted photo.

New Entertainment for 2024

YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram Sensation, Jacques ze Whipper will be performing at Scarborough Renaissance Festival for one weekend only from April 20-21, 2024 in a whip-cracking, horn honking, and dangerous stuffed animal show with a French twist that promises to be a must-see event.

The Mermaid Lagoon has been redesigned and updated for the 2024 season and may be enjoyed for an additional fee.

The all-new Royal Menagerie Petting Zoo will be introduced in 2024.

New facilities will premier such as the main First Aid Station, Mermaid Souvenir Shoppe, Cold Forge Brew pub, and Two Crowns Beer Garden.\

Kid-friendly attractions have been expanded, such as Knighting Ceremonies, The Nature of Mercy Pirates, Cirque du Sewer, Harmless Danger Juggling Show, Kamikaze Fireflies, Terra Prongwort, The Pinwheel Sideshow, and Sir Real the Puppet Man.

For mature audiences, the adult-oriented entertainment, for which Scarborough Renaissance Festival is known, has also expanded and includes Arthur Greenleaf Holmes, who is the Wildly Inappropriate Poet, Menage a Moi Comedy, Midwife Crisis, Cirqa Brava’s Saucy Show, and the Royal Pub Sing.

The Scarborough Academy of Performing Arts will present Betwixt to Fronds, Faebles, It’s That Scots Show, Living Chess Match, Match Games 1543, Midsummer Fairy Tea Party, Nri Nobility, and Romeo and Juliet.

Lady knight at Scarborough Fair in Waxahachie, Texas
Scarborough Renaissance Festival features jousting sessions throughout the day. Submitted photo.

Almost all the entertainers interact heavily with the crowds, and some ask audience members to join them on stage, Helaine says. “All of our entertainers are always accessible and interactive with our audience, and that does make it very, very different.”

Fire juggler at Scarborough Fair in Waxahachie, Texas
The Kamikaze Fireflies wow audiences with world-record renowned stunts, fire juggling and circus skills. Submitted photo.

Food and Drink

For many festival goers, the whole attraction is the chance to walk around for a day eating a turkey leg or some other edible item skewered on a stick. Most of the food offerings keep with the mood of the Renaissance, though some fair favorites have worked their way in.

Skewered foods available at Scarborough Fair in waxahachie, Texas
Scarborough Renaissance Festival boasts having the area’s largest menu of food on a stick. Submitted photo.

“We have a huge variety of food and the vast majority of it is not fair food,” Helaine says. “So, you’re not going to find your traditional burgers and hot dogs. We do have funnel cake — that is one of the things that we you will find. But outside of that, we have our signature giant roasted turkey legs. We sell over two tons of turkey legs every festival season. But in addition to that, we have really unique items such as our Scottish egg, which is a traditional European favorite, and it is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage and then coated in batter, and then it’s deep fried. And it’s a really hearty meal.

“We also have our own bakery, and they’re all handmade items. They start at four o’clock every morning making these items every festival day. So, they’re fresh, homemade recipes that our bakery produces every day.

“We also have a pasta shop that has different pasta specials every day of the festival. So again, it’s a very different type of food than you normally encounter at a festival or an outdoor event like we are.”

Festival goers can also stop in at more than a dozen different pubs and taverns to slake their thirst.

“For those that are wanting a more in-depth experience, we actually offer twice daily beer tastings that are conducted by a certified cicerone.,” Helaine says. “The gentleman who conducts our beer tasting has been certified and he just does an excellent one-hour tasting event. In addition to that we also offer twice daily wine tastings as well. These are just outstanding ways to get a little bit more in-depth and have a really unique experience.”

To register for special beer and wine tasting and other food events, visit the Scarborough Renaissance Festival Ticket Information web page.

New Food and Pub Options for 2024

  • Chicken Alfredo Pizza
  • B.B.Q. baked potatoes filled with barbecued brisket, butter, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and chives
  • Cake balls in a variety of flavors on a stick
  • Apple dumplings, consisting of a whole apple wrapped in a render pastry and baked before being finished with a cinnamon sauce. For added flavor, thge dumplings may be topped with Henry’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream.
  • Smoked chicken
  • Smoked pork butt
  • Smoked corn on the cob
  • Pickle pops, which is frozen pickle juice
  • Peppermint lemons, consisting of peppermint sticks in whole lemons
  • Two new pubs and taverns: Two Crown Beer Garden and Cold Forge Brew
  • Specialty drinks such as White Zinfandel Peach Sangria, Frozen Margaritas, and Frozen Peach Bellinis and select pubs and taverns
  • Seamus Choice beers, chosen by S.R.F.’s own cicerone
  • A variety of non-alcoholic beers for those who enjoy the flavor of beer but avoid alcohol

Arts and Crafts

Throughout the Scarborough grounds, hundreds of shops offer handmade, period-specific or offbeat items that range from clothing and jewelry to home decor and even musical instruments. S.R.F. boasts being one of the largest outdoor juried craft shows in the country, with as many as 20 artisan craft demonstrations each day.

“One of the things that people need to understand when they come out to the festival, this is an artisan marketplace,” Helaine says. “We do not have imported goods at the festival — 99% of what you will find at our festival is handmade and most of the artisans are in the shops; they can tell you how their crafts are made, how they came about making them — they’re also going to be very unique. These are not crafts you’re going to see at any other event in the in the North Texas region.

“We’ve got over 200 shops throughout the festival. So, it definitely is extensive on what people can find and explore. You can come into the festival and do nothing but explore our shops. The other part of it is we have over a dozen artisans that demonstrate their craft every day, and that includes our glass blowers, our glass sculptors, our stone sculptors, metal work, our forge, our jewelers — they will actually make those all throughout the day at the festival. And you can watch them create these one-of-a-kind pieces.”

Glass blower at Scarborough Fair in Waxahachie, Texas
Artisan demonstrations occur throughout each festival day. Submitted photo.

“We’ve got quite a few new artisans and shops coming into the festival this year that we’re very, very excited about,” Helaine adds.

New Artisans for 2024

  • Crimson Chain Leather
  • Delicious Doom Chocolate
  • Mirza’s Marvels macrame accessories
  • Skapa Leather
  • Snuggle Dragons crocheted animals
  • Spellbound Creations sculptured bottles
  • Valkyrie’s Amourer
  • Morbid Hookers crocheted animals, from April 6-28
  • Meraki Moon macrame beaded jewelry, from April 6-28
  • Grey Company Outfitters, from April 6-14
  • Seneca Creek Ceramics, from April 6-14
  • Dancing Hatter fairy wings, from April 6-28
  • One Off Woodturning, from April 20-28
  • Curiosities of Skin and Bone, bone jewelry and face and body casting, from May 4-12
  • Dancing Glass Beadworks, from April 20-28
  • My Lady’s Gourds gourd sculptures, from May 4-12
  • The Mill – Renaissance Plush handmade costume creatures, from May 5-12
  • Saorsa Studios macrame beaded jewelry, from May 18-19
  • A Faire Journey children’s clothing, from May 18-27
  • Aberdeen Honey Products, from May 18-27
  • Endangered Arts 3-D art, from May 18-27

Rides and Games

Scarborough Renaissance festival has just under a dozen human-powered rides, from the popular Crow’s Nest and jousting ride to a carousel and barrel ride. For game seekers, there’s a knife, axe or star throwing game, along with darts, archery, longbow and crossbow sports among the 21 total games of chance and tests of strength and skill.

A child and ride at Scarborough Fair in Waxahachie, Texas
All rides at Scarborough Renaissance Festival are human powered. Submitted photo.

“The games and rides are additional fee, but they’re very minimal. They range from $2 to $5. So it’s not a terribly expensive price. I will also tell you that most of the games and rides are cash only. So people need to be aware of that. We do have six A.T.M.s onsite if they need cash, but we highly recommend that you bring cash with you,” Helaine says.

Taking It All In

The festival begins each day at 10:00 a.m., and to take in all that Scarborough Renaissance Festival has to offer, you’ll want to arrive early. Get there by 9:45 a.m. for a pre-opening show that occurs at the gates.

Helaine says that many people grab a schedule and try to create an itinerary for their stay. She says a better approach may me to just arrive with an open mind and take in the flow of the day.

“Scarborough can be a different experience based on who you come with,” she says. “If you have children, you’re going to experience things very differently than if you come with a group of adults or as a couple, because kids want to do things like our knighting ceremony each day. They love the games of skill and the Renaissance rides. We have a petting zoo, we have a walk through aviary — the kids tend to really gravitate toward those things where the adults might want to do a beer or a wine tasting. They will enjoy the shopping in a very different way than kids will. We do have some shops that are geared toward children and we have toys — we have costumes and things like that. But, the shops that adults will enjoy tend to be a little different than that. So again, there’s a little something for everyone. So, regardless what your ages, you can have a very fun experience just in different ways based on who you’re here with.

“One of the things that first-timers make the mistake of doing they come in and they get a schedule, because our programs are available at the gate as well as in our souvenir shops. People try to say, okay, I want to see this, this, this and this. And they spend their day running from one end of the festival to the other in one shot, and they miss a lot of what’s in between. I think the best way to experience Scarborough is to just wander because what happens is you kind of just come upon certain entertainment, you come upon different crafts, or an artisan demonstration. And that’s when you get the full experience of Scarborough — when you just discover things naturally as you go through the festival site. And that’s one thing that I think a lot of people miss.”