MINNESOTA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
Fill up that tankard and grab a giant turkey leg, it's Minnesota Renaissance Festival time
Image by Minnesota Renaissance Festival
By Kyle Smelter
Hear ye! Hear ye! Your presence is formally requested by his highness King Henry and his royal court to attend the 47th annual Minnesota Renaissance Festival at the Festival grounds in Shakopee during the weekends starting Aug. 19 and running through Oct. 1.
Don your finest jerkins, tunics and dresses—and even fairy wings and mermaid tails—and equip yourself with swords (actual swords need to be sheathed and peace tied at all times), shields and tankards as you travel back in time to a 16th Century European village that has 16 stages of live entertainment and more than 250 vendors selling fanciful and medieval treasures to passersby.
Image by Jenniffer Arocha
From stage acts and the Royal Court to musical groups and live jousting, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival is never short on laughs, whimsy and good times. Headlining this medieval menagerie are the fantastical Fairy Wing Forest, the mythical Mermaid Cove and the gut-busting duo of Puke and Snot—a comedic twosome who have been mainstays at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival since 1974. And if you'd rather stay on the move and not miss out on the entertainment, roaming street performers have your back.
From one corner of the realm to the other, you’ll find highly skilled craftsmen and craftwenches offering their handmade wares, including jewelry, pottery, worked wood, leatherwork, paintings, hand-blown glass and metal works all with a renaissance flavor. Or you can see what’s written in the stars as you look back on your past, present and what lies ahead during an astrology reading.
Image by George Day
If you're walking around and you feel the desire to dabble in the medieval lifestyle yourself, you’re in luck. Visitors can test their dexterity and balance on Jacob’s ladders, accuracy at the archery range, their sense of humor as they hurl tomatoes at the vegetable justice (not for the easily offended) and more.
All of this dragon slaying and fantasy is bound to make anyone hungry. For that, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival offers a feast of delicious food and drink options to keep you fueled throughout the day. New options this year include Unicorn Sundaes, spam sliders and pickle juice icy's alongside the fare favorites of Barbarian Burgers, bacon mac and cheese, and, of course, everyone's favorite—the giant turkey leg. The festival also offers gluten free and vegetarian options for fairgoers with dietary restrictions.
Image by Tiffany Peters
For those who want to delve even deeper into the fantasy world, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival's themed weekends are just what the apothecary ordered:
• Highland Fling | Aug. 19-20
• Once Upon a Time | Aug. 26-27
• International Bazaar | Sept. 2-4
• Wine, Chocolate & Romance | Sept. 9-10
• Pets & Pirates | Sept. 16-17
• Shamrocks & Shenanigans | Sept. 23-24
• Festival Friday | Sept. 29
• Oktoberfest | Sept. 30 through Oct. 1
Image by Alexandra Beattie