Visitors Question Safety at Renaissance Festival

By: Toni Harrison
By: Toni Harrison

From Dragon Slaying to the Kings Feast, the Texas Renaissance Festival is back. People from all over the state, many dressed for the occasion, come to enjoy the sights and merriment of the festival.

Last year, 23-year-old Brandon Smith was fatally stabbed at the festival. With so many people walking around with swords and knifes, some visitors, like Jared Watson, are now concerned about safety.

"The first thing I noticed, you know, I had a coffee in my hand and they made me get rid of that, then they let me walk right on through no problem. They didn't seem to be very observant, you know the weapon, I'm sure they noticed it, but," said Jared Watson, festival visitor.

Watson has been coming to the festival for a few years. Excluding the fatal altercation last year, he has never seen things get too out of control.

"I've been coming here for about for four years now and most people stay on relatively good behavior," said Watson.

The Grimes County Constable and the sheriff's office say last year's incident was isolated and it shouldn't stop anyone from enjoying the adventure that is RenFest.

"That was an isolated incident that happened one time in 30 years and we're in our 31st year this year. So folks need to come on out and not be concerned as far as safety factor," said Bill Pendley, Grimes County Constable.

"There's ample amount of security here to ensure people's safety," said Don Sowell, Grimes County Sheriff.

As a visitor, Watson feels public safety should be more of a concern.

"The biggest caution I have is people come in and they start drinking and they have a sharp object strapped to their back and it's a different state of mind," said Watson.

For now, the show will go on as usual. The masses have been drawn to Plantersville for the event for 31 years and until last year, safety was never an issue. So, law enforcement officials feel they have everything under control and are conducting business the same way they always have.

"We haven't changed, we've got the same kind of security as last year and for the last 30 years," said Pendley.


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