HOUSTON, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- The 39th Texas Renaissance Festival, the largest of its kind in the United States, opened Saturday in the Texas city of Tod Mission, taking thousands of visitors back in time to interact with various performers.
The festival started with a Bavarian celebration, where festival-goers could drink beers, learn Polka dance and taste typical European food. Visitors dressed in old-fashioned costumes strolled down the shaded cobblestone pathways, watched armored warriors jousting, or enjoyed a hilarious laugh with strangers from far-off land.
The festival, held on weekends and Thanksgiving Friday, is an interactive theme park that embraces different eras, including the 16th century and beyond. It features nearly 10 theme parties this year, including A Thousand and One Dreams, Pirate Adventure, Roman Bacchanal, Highland Fling and Barbarian Invasion.
Visitors to the Texas Renaissance Festival could immerse themselves in a kingdom filled with folklore, artisans, entertainment and feasting. The 55-acre (about 22.3 hectares) theater houses live entertainment, food, fun and professional actors who engage with festival guests through live performances and improvisational activities.
Nick Bugus, a jolly lad from Philadelphia, told Xinhua in an affected British accent that it was his third year here. "I love it. I can speak this way all day. It's a wonderful opportunity for dress-up," he giggled.
His companion, Gannon Herring from Oregon, said he was so tempted to come even if he had to pay for an expensive air ticket. "We came last year and we had so much fun and the year before, so we wanted to come again to have fun," said the boy with pale cheeks.
The festival welcomes half a million guests annually and features about 500 costumed performers on 17 stages. Cory Brock, director of marketing and sponsorships for the festival, said the number of guests was expected to rise this year.
"As a total last year, we had 600,000. Hopefully we will have a couple more this year. We have expanded the festival so that we can fit more people in here as well. Usually per day, we have 30,000 to 40,000 people," said Brock, dressed as a Bavarian lumberjack.
The festival is scheduled to end on Dec. 1 with a Celtic Christmas celebration.