The Minnesota Renaissance festival (or MNRF) of Shakopee, Minnesota has been in existence since 1971, and is one of the oldest and largest Renaissance fairs in the U.S. It is currently owned by Mid-America Festivals. It runs for 7 weekends during August and September for a total of 16 days including Labor Day and a Friday "school day".
The site is 22 acres in size, has 275 crafter/artisans, 11 performance stages and 120 food booths. At its peak, attendance has been as high as 320,000 visitors, making it one of the most attended Renaissance fairs, and attendance averaging around 280,000 as of 2010. The entertainment cast including stage acts, musicians and street characters consists of about 500 people.
It started in Jonathan, Minnesota, as a "celebration of nature art and life" and was later moved to Shakopee. It also played host to the early careers of such national acts as the magicians Penn & Teller and The Flying Karamozov Brothers juggling troupe.
The village portrays an England-like fantasy kingdom during the 16th century.
Guilds or Troupes Edit
The festival does not currently have reenactment, or performance "guilds" in the same way that many west coast Renaisance fairs do, although there historically have been troupes of actors who contract as a group to perform at the festival as street characters, or to provide stage combat scenes. in addition to the stage acts. Individual street characters are hired through an audition process, and novice characters are required to attend the festival "Academy" which provides classes in acting, interaction with the public, and improvization.
Crafter Information Edit
It is a juried show with an official policy of not allowing "resellers." Crafters are supposed to produce their own wares. As of 2015 booth fees were a $1500 minimum, or $66 per linear foot measured across the front of permanent booths (measured diagonally across tents or temporary structures).
Local Gathering Places Edit
In the off-season, local participants of the festival have gathered at various Irish bars in Minneapolis (Kierans, Merlin's Rest) and St. Paul, (The Dubliner). And Vilification Tennis performs monthly at the Bryant Lake Bowl.
External Links Edit
Official Site of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival
MRFfriends resource Pages. A resource page for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival and participants that also has a Yahoo E-list for MNRF participants and patrons.
Minnesota Renaissance Festival forum on RenaissanceFestival.com