Ren Faire: Where Are They Now?

HBO’s documentary series ‘Ren Faire’ centers on George Coulam’s attempts to find the next “King” of the Texas Renaissance Festival. In reality, George considered selling the festival he founded nearly five decades ago to step into the retirement phase of his life. His employee Jeffrey “Jeff” Baldwin and fellow businessman Louie Migliaccio emerged as worthy candidates to run the company, with Darla Smith in the mix in the administrative scene. With the support of his wife, Brandi Baldwin, Jeff aimed for the throne, but George stunned the aforementioned individuals by scrapping his plans to sell the TRF. A few years later, the festival remains a part of almost all these people’s lives!

George Coulam is Still the General Manager of the TRF

After putting an end to his efforts to sell his company, George Coulam appointed himself as the general manager of the Texas Renaissance Festival. The decision was a result of the realization that a king is “nothing” without his kingdom. Along with the TRF, George also has to “rule” Todd Mission in Texas as the mayor of the city. He hasn’t stepped down from the position ever since the region was incorporated. The administrative duties of the mayor don’t stop him from looking after the Stargate Manor Arboretum, which is a part of his estate, Stargate Manor. The arboretum, which will be accessible to the public after his death, is an essential part of George’s day-to-day life.

As the general manager of the TRF, George has to be involved in the preparations for the 50th-anniversary edition of the festival, which is scheduled to start on October 12. As far as his personal life is concerned, he is currently single and regularly goes on dates. “If you want to go [to Olive Garden] at 12 o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon, he [George] will be there. He goes on a few dates every week. If Victor — ‘The King’s Scroller,’ who works for him — doesn’t find someone for him to go on a date with, he will incur the wrath of George,” Lance Oppenheim, who co-created and directed ‘Ren Faire,’ told The Hollywood Reporter.

George has an extensive history of lawsuits and legal troubles. Several of his former employees have sued him or the TRF in the past because of his alleged unacceptable behavior. Years after these cases, although specific details concerning the same are under wraps, he and his company are currently involved in litigations with several individuals over the business deal he made, as depicted in the documentary series. Oppenheim’s creation also revealed that George is dealing with a skin cancer that is known as squamous cell carcinoma. However, the TRF founder has been highly private about his illness.

George still hopes to pass the baton as far as the TRF’s future is concerned, especially since he is aware that his death is not far away. The eighty-six-year-old “King” wishes to die at the age of ninety-five, and he has even built a mausoleum in his estate for his forever-lasting rest. According to Oppenheim, George may sell the TRF to an individual or a group not interested in running the festival. “I could see it getting sold and turned into malls or suburban tract homes,” the documentarian told Variety.

Jeff Baldwin is the Entertainment Director of the TRF

After George Coulam fired Jeff Baldwin while he was serving as the general manager of the Texas Renaissance Festival, the latter considered a different workplace for his future. However, when the entertainment director position was opened up, he took a pay cut and rejoined the TRF. Jeff remains committed to the festival regardless of his demotion. “The festival is a very, very magical place,” he told Vanity Fair while adding that the artist community that takes part in the TRF is nothing short of a family for him. Like George, Jeff is also busy setting up the 50th-anniversary edition edition of the festival as the entertainment director.

Jeff sees the documentary series as the best way to reach out to people who aren’t exactly familiar with the TRF. “We couldn’t have prayed for anything better. We always wonder how [we can] get people to the festival who don’t know about us. And I think Lance has just handed us the golden ticket for that,” he added. Even after the production of the show, Jeff remained in touch with Lance Oppenheim and attended the series’ premiere at the 2024 South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, with his wife, Brandi. The couple recently hosted the director when he was in Texas as well.

Even though Jeff is back with his “family,” life can get tough for him, according to Oppenheim. “I think, even now, it’s hard for Jeff. He’s back at his older position, which used to be Brandi’s job, essentially taking a massive pay cut. He still loves the festival and his relationship with George. I think he loves parts of George but will never forget what happened to him,” the documentarian told THR. What makes Jeff’s life easier is his relationship with Brandi. “To me, Jeff and Brandi have a very beautiful relationship of trusting each other and supporting each other, even in the depths of despair. They’re always there for each other, and I love that about them,” Oppenheim added.

Jeff is at home at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, cheering for the Major League Baseball team, Houston Astros.

Brandi Baldwin Remains Partially Involved in the TRF

Brandi Baldwin lost her entertainment director position at the TRF when her husband, Jeff Baldwin, was fired from the TRF. Until May 2023, she worked at Alight Solutions, an IT service management company, as a customer care client manager in Texas. Since then, she has been working remotely as a client services manager at Empyrean, an HR company based in Houston. She occasionally gets involved with the TRF’s theater company. “Brandi has a new job outside of the festival but still gets involved with the performing side of the theater company at the festival,” Oppenheim revealed to THR.

Brandi’s involvement with the TRF doesn’t mean that she has mended her relationship with George. “He [George] is a capricious individual who can take our livelihood, and then it’s gone at his whim,” she told Vanity Fair. She hasn’t terminated her relationship with the festival because of the companions she has garnered from it. Brandi continues to attend the TRF to spend her time with her best friends. She also embarks on vacations with Jeff to celebrate their relationship and lives away from the intricacies of the TRF. Most recently, the couple visited Aruba, which is a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands situated south of the Caribbean Sea, and Bonaire, a Caribbean island that is a special municipality of the Netherlands.

Last April, Brandi lost her mother, Faith Carter Wilsher. Houston Astros remains an integral part of her life, which leads her to support the team at their home ballpark. She is often accompanied by Jeff and Señor Pepe, a toy described as a “one-time companion to the Generalissimo Pico de Gallo, an extensive traveler, and a true Renaissance man.” Brandi and Jeff don’t have kids, which helps them to remain “children forever,” in the words of her husband.

Louie Migliaccio is Focused on His Business Ventures

George Coulam’s decision not to sell the TRF led Louie Migliaccio to turn his attention back to his business ventures, which will remain the attractions of the 50th-anniversary edition of the festival. When the TRF opens its gates to the public on October 12, Louie is expected to be walking around the festival grounds, running his business while drinking eight to fourteen energy drink cans a day. “I love the community of TRF. I want to continue to be a part of a community where we uplift thousands of artists, merchants, and entertainers and create a magical environment for our patrons,” he recently told Vanity Fair about his involvement in the festival despite his failure to buy it.

Even though Louie is known as the Lord of Corn, his kettle corn store is only one of the several ventures he runs at the festival. Wyrmwood Public House, Champion Rickshaws, Dragonslayer Souvenirs, and Da Vinci Dots Ice Cream are some of the other stores he operates at the TRF. To run these many establishments, he has a team of around 160 individuals working for him. Louie has been keeping his personal life private for years, thanks to an inactive presence on social media platforms. Even Oppenheim admitted that it was tough to dive into his life and operations. However, he didn’t miss the screening of the chronicle of his failed efforts to buy the TRF.

Surprisingly, Louie wanted to watch the series with George. “Louie wanted to be with George when he saw it. George was sort of like, ‘Why are you here?’ But Louie brought his whole family to the screening,” Oppenheim told Variety.

Darla Smith is Healing From Her TRF Experiences

‘Ren Faire’ ends with the revelation that Darla Smith was fired from her TRF general manager position. As the series depicts, George was dissatisfied with her ability to run the festival and find a buyer. Since leaving the TRF in August 2023, she has been spending her time with her family, which includes her three children, as a single mother. “It’s like getting away from an abusive spouse,” Darla told Vanity Fair about leaving the TRF. “You don’t realize the dynamic has gotten so crazy until you step away. So I’ve spent quite a bit of time healing and spending time with my boys… just centering myself and getting my cortisol level down,” she added.

Darla is open to working as an event coordinator or a venue, vendor, or operations manager in Conroe, the Woodlands, or Montgomery, where she is based in Texas. She also runs a candle-making company called Lotion Lites. Irrespective of her harsh experiences working for George, she still loves the Renaissance fair industry. “I love this industry and all the vendors and people involved in making these amazing experiences for our patrons and don’t regret a minute of my involvement with TRF in the least,” she shared after the premiere of ‘Ren Faire.’ “I’ve grown both personally and professionally through the last 3.5 years and look forward to what the future will bring. This ‘fat lady’ hasn’t sung her final song yet!” she added.

Although Darla considers ‘Ren Faire’ a “Jeff-centered” show, she is “glad some of the details of my experiences with TRF have been made public.”

Lauren Croft is Back at the TRF

Lauren Croft served as the assistant general manager of the TRF under Jeff Baldwin between April and November 2022. She left the company around the same time as Jeff was fired from the festival. Lauren then worked at Rimkus, an engineering and technical consulting firm in Houston, Texas, as an administrative assistant for three months. In January 2024, she returned to the TRF as an entertainment and graphic arts assistant, which is her current position at the festival. She also attended Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas, to do a Communication and Media Studies program in 2023.

Lauren regularly spends her time with her friends and family members. She is passionate about baking macaroons and attending a variety of events based in Houston, where she lives. Cats are an unignorable part of Lauren’s life. She seemingly doesn’t miss celebrations in her friends’ lives, be it birthdays or weddings. Lauren is into aerial arts and pole fitness. Even though she enthusiastically shares glimpses of her life, Lauren has kept her relationship status private.

Read More: George Coulam’s Net Worth: How Rich is the TRF Founder?