Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Photo: renaissancefest.com
The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is one of the longest-running and most popular Renaissance fairs in the United States. It is held every year in Shakopee, a city located in the southwest portion of the metropolitan area of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, also known as the Twin Cities.

The first Minnesota Renaissance Festival was held in September 1971. It took place on a 22-acre field in Jonathan, Minnesota. The two weekend grand opening of the festival attracted over 25,000 visitors. The event has since moved to its current venue in Shakopee and draws about 300,000 attendees each season. The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is currently owned and operated by Mid-America Festivals, the largest producer of outdoor themed events in the United States.

The festival is set in a 16th-century “England-like” fantasy kingdom. It features over 700 entertainers and 250 artisans and crafters. Exploring the festival grounds, you can find over a dozen stages with continuous entertainment, about 120 food stalls, the Mermaid Cove, the Fairy Wing Forest, the Wishing Well, and more. Costumed characters make the festival experience even more exciting.

As far as entertainment is concerned, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has plenty to offer. Its program includes jousting, comedy, music, singing, dancing, stage and street acts, and special shows involving King Henry, Queen Elizabeth and the Royal Court. There also are various contests and competitions such as the Cupcake Battle and the fairy house competition. Besides, the fair hosts outdoor weddings, corporate events and children’s birthday parties.

Like all Renaissance fairs, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has a big marketplace where artisans offer unique items and demonstrate their skills. At the craft fair, you can find an impressive assortment of handmade wares such as pottery, jewelry, hand-blown glass, worked wood, fine metal craftsmanship, leatherwork, and paintings. Some of the artisans have been participating for over three decades!

The festival’s craft program also includes live demos throughout the day, including glass blowing, jewelry making, painting, and pottery throwing. Along with the artisan shops, the marketplace features food vendors and family-friendly games, rides and fun activities. Besides, the festival hosts daily events such as the Feast of Fantasy and Royal Events (whiskey and wine tastings, beer and bacon tastings, pub crawls, parties, and more).

Each weekend at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has a theme. For example, the 2016 theme weekends included Silk Road: Discover the Riches, Highland Fling, Passport to Adventure, Wine, Chocolate & Romance, Pet Fest, Shamrocks & Shenanigans, Festival Friday, and Oktoberfest.

Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Photo: James Billson




Related Articles