Great weather, large crowds, everything running along smoothly, naturally that’s when everything goes pear-shaped.
With the festival in full-swing Saturday at about 2:00 pm the Tri-County area suffered a major power outage affecting not only the Texas Renaissance Festival but west Montgomery, north east Waller and southern Grimes counties. Many of the guests were not even aware of the issue, but of course those directly affected were less than pleased.
The front gate business operations have a stand-by generator, but there was no Internet and ticket sales were affected. Especially affected were those with tickets only on their phones. At least one of the cell towers in the area was offline with no power. People’s information had to be taken by hand, and ticket sales were restricted to cash only, but ATMs were down with no power or phone service. Luckily at the gates we were still able to scan tickets. After about an hour operations were restored at the Will-Call window using a cell phone as a WiFi hotspot.
Inside the festival had issues, as many shops had no way to take credit cards with out power or phone service, though some had generators or a working cell phone provider. Audio equipment was not working at the stages. Food vendors fared better and all of them remained fully operational, as almost all their transactions are cash, and use gas for cooking.
Most affected were the restrooms, with no lights and without power the wells don’t pump. most had to be closed when they could no longer flush. Within 30 minutes water trucks were deployed at three restrooms and were operating again, and within the hour a generator was deployed at one of the wells to provide water to the restroom outside all of the even numbered restrooms inside, providing coverage throughout the park.
The biggest inconvenience to patrons was when it was decided without lights it was unsafe to remain open after dark and the festival had to close at 6:00 pm. This meant a large number of people hit the parking lot and tried to leave all at the same time. People were safer in their cars than stumbling around the festival in the pitch dark, but many were understandably not happy about it.
Very good numbers, up from this time last year. Schools are on holiday already so historically this weekend is always a busy one. Saturday may have gone a little higher if the power had stayed on or maybe not. For those who asked, while it was a good weekend we weren’t near the record from 2012 of 43,652 and 48,363. Maybe next year!
|2017||Partly Cloudy to Clear, High 82°, Low 58°, 65% Avg. Humidity||Clear, High 64°, Low 45°, 46% Avg. Humidity|
|2016||Clear, High 62°, Low 43°, 48% avg. Humidity||Clear, High 58°, Low 30°, 73% Avg. Humidity|
Saturday started out cloudy and sultry, but at two o’clock the wind picked up and veered around to the worth-west, the humidity took a noticeable drop and by two thirty the sky was clear. It turned out to be a beautiful day weather wise. Sunday was absolutely beautiful all day, though the breeze was blowing the tickets around, and I left my gloves on all day.
For the final weekend, three-day weekend of 2017 we have the crowd, (and personal) favourite Celtic Christmas. The weather forecast looks amazing, so we should have some large crowds. My advice is to come early, prepare accordingly, be patient, and plan a route to faire that doesn’t go through Magnolia, and you should have a great time!
See you at the gates… Until then, ‘Fare thee well!’
Sir David Falstaff
Captain, Texas Renaissance Festival Beefeaters