Every weekend day of the Texas Renaissance Festival season, a cannon is fired to start the day. Over the years, thousands upon thousands have heard it and it filled them with a sense of excitement to know that the day at TRF has begun.
And even though so many have heard it go off, not many have actually seen it happen. This includes the cast and crew of the TexRenFest also because when it fires, they are all around the festival in their shops and booths getting ready for the day.
Last season, I was asked several times to meet crews before the festival opened to get their photos. When I started getting into the festival early to meet these crews, I knew that I wanted to see the cannon go off.
What follows are 12 videos for 12 days of the cannon being fired. Next season, I hope to capture all 17 firings.
I didn’t capture video of the first 3 days of the festival, but started shooting video on the fourth day. This firing is for the Sunday of the 1001 Dreams weekend.
A still shot achieved by using the video and advancing it to just the right spot and taking a screenshot. With a high quality iPhone that shoots 4K video, this is possible to do.
Alan is in charge of the cannon and also works on the fireworks show at the end of the day. Alan and I found out that we both worked for the same guy many years ago doing pyrotechnic work. Small world.
This firing is for Saturday of the Halloween weekend.
I shared the gallery of these videos and pics with someone and they were amazed at what I had done to get these pics. After so many years, you pick up some tricks.
Here is what I found on cannons… “A cannon is a type of artillery, usually large and tubular in shape, that uses gunpowder to propel a projectile over a distance. Cannons vary in size, range, mobility, rate of fire, and fire power.”
This firing is for the Sunday of Halloween weekend.
Alan really liked seeing these pics.
“Cannons were first used in China. The first European cannon was in Iberia, in the Islamic wars against Spain in the 12th century.”
This firing is for the Saturday of the Cosplay weekend. A film crew was there to record it. The cameraman still jumps even though I told them all what to expect.
A great shot of the video crew getting some footage of the firing.
On this next day, the Festival Queen lit the cannon. Alan always tells the person lighting the cannon to cover the ear closest to the cannon and also to open their mouths to lessen the percussion to the head. Many times, the person forgets to open their mouth.
This firing is for the Sunday of the Cosplay weekend.
I really like the still shots.
This next guy’s reaction to the noise is pretty funny.
This firing is for the Saturday of the Barbarian Invasion weekend.
I bet this guy would love to have this photo. It’s in the photo galleries on the website, if you know him.
“An English cannon was first used during the Hundred Years War, when small, primitive cannons were used in the Battle of Crecy in 1346. The end of the Middle Ages saw the introduction of a more standardized and effective cannon.”
This firing is for the Sunday of the Barbarian Invasion weekend.
Alan always has the best pose when firing.
On this next day, it was a little wet, so Alan fired the cannon from under an awning. “Keep your powder dry” is a very old saying that refers to soldiers using older guns that utilized gunpowder.
This firing is for the Saturday of the Highland Fling weekend.
This might be my favorite pic.
“Some of the largest cannons ever constructed were of Asian origin. Some European cannons were large also, but were abandoned in favor of larger numbers of lighter more maneuverable pieces. The Medieval Great Turkish Bombard required 200 men to operate, while the 18th century English cannon only required a dozen men to fire. By the Napoleonic Wars, only 5 men operated the British cannon.”
This firing is for the Sunday of the Highland Fling weekend.
If I were Alan, I’d want some of these pics framed for the wall.
“The word cannon has been used to refer to a gun since 1326, in Italy, and 1418, in England. From 1430 onward, the word cannon was only used to refer to the largest weapons.”
This firing is for the Friday of the Celtic Christmas weekend.
On this day, Brandi Baldwin ignited the cannon. She was one of the only ones that did it right by covering her ear and opening her mouth.
This firing is for the Saturday of the Celtic Christmas weekend.
Alan looks good in his cloak.
“The earliest depiction of a gun is a sculpture from a cave in Sichuan dating to the 1100’s of a figure carrying a vase-shaped bombard with flames and a cannonball coming out of it.”
This firing is for the Sunday of the Celtic Christmas weekend. The last day of the festival. The Italian gentleman that ignited the cannon also did it in 2019, when the pandemic started. Alan had hopes that his igniting the cannon again would end the pandemic.
The last day of the 2022 season.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog post about the TexRenFest cannon and a little history lesson. If you have enjoyed this post, leave a comment and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear from you.
To see all of the pics and videos from the Texas Renaissance Festival, visit the site below and click on Photos.