The daily parade at Scarborough Renaissance Festival features royalty, shop owners and belly-dancers. Here are 7 reasons to visit the festival in Waxahachie.

The daily parade at Scarborough Renaissance Festival features royalty, shop owners and belly-dancers. Here are 7 reasons to visit the festival in Waxahachie.

Alexandra Olivia/Special Contributor

Noble men and women, hear ye! Thou hast taketh an interest in turkey legs and mermaids, aye? To Scarborough Renaissance Festival you go. 

Scarborough Renaissance Festival

The Waxahachie-based fest draws large crowds from across North Texas and sees an average of about 200,000 visitors every year.

The 37th season of the Scarborough Renaissance Festival runs April 8 to May 29, offering eight weekend opportunities to dig into fantasy and frivolity, 16th-century Old English style. Here are seven festival highlights you won't want to miss.

Bite a leg

Scarborough visitors eat a whopping 20 tons of giant turkey legs every year. That's about 2,352 pounds of turkey per day or 261 pounds per hour! With 11 pubs and taverns -- including one full-service bar on site -- the festival offers authentic tastes such as shepherd's pies for lords and ladies. (There are jumbo fajita platters, too, because people gotta eat.)

Watch human chess

Feeling like a pawn in the game of life these days? Get thee to the Chess Field. At 3 p.m. each day, real people turn into queens, kings and other chess pieces, battling each other in the ultimate game of strategy.

Get crackin'

Last year, bullwhip crack aficionado Adam Winrich broke his own record for most cracks in one minute. Prior to May 7, 2016, he could crack a whip at a piddly 257 times per minute. On May 17 of last year, a Guinness World Records judge verified in front of several hundred festivalgoers that Winrich could crack a whip 267 times in 60 seconds. What does it cost you to watch him try to break the record again? Nada. His performance is one of more than 200 performances delivered daily and is included in the cost of admission.

Ale house rules

If you scoff at the idea of leaving your local beer garden to make merriment with strangers, spend some time with Scarborough's brewmaster. One-hour beer tastings take place from noon to 3 p.m. every day in the Village Green area. Admission is $30 per person and includes a souvenir glass, a specialty-paired fruit and cheese plate, and beer history fun facts.

Did you know mermaids exist in Waxahachie? 

Meet a mermaid

Mermaids exist. We know because we interviewed them, and these gals sure do have some stories. At Scarborough, they're happy to shoot the breeze and take photos with visitors in their Mermaid Lagoon. Ask them anything you like, but be sure to schedule a tour time in the lagoon in advance.

Visit old friends

Sword fighting comedians Don Juan and Miguel provide medieval entertainment at Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie. They're pictured here in 2013.

Sword fighting comedians Don Juan and Miguel provide medieval entertainment at Scarborough Renaissance Festival in Waxahachie. They're pictured here in 2013.

Alexandra Olivia/Special Contributor

Some festivalgoers claim to have been kids when they first watched legendary swordplayers Don Juan and Miguel perform. The pair has been at Scarborough for more than 20 years now, meaning some of those kids can now take their own children to see the same performers. Not much has changed: Don Juan reigns supreme in festivalgoers' hearts as the prince of Spain, and his reliably funny manservant Miguel ups the ante with impressive improvisation.

Collect cosplay crafts

With 200 shops and counting, Scarborough is one of the largest outdoor juried craft shows in America. Nine new quest artisans will be featured, including Enchanted Chains, a chainmaille jewelry and accessories merchant, and Masquerade Life Castings, a shop for making body castings. Other artists sell hanging tapestries, stained glass designs and honey-based beauty products.

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