The skinny on the Minn. Ren Festival?

As part of a much needed vacation, I’ll be off to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Since I’ve never been there before, I’d thought I’d check and see if anyone on the boards has been there and see if there is/are…

[li]A show I just have to see[/li][li]Booths that are worth looking specifically for[/li][li]A ‘best time’ to arrive so we don’t end up parking in Wisconsin or North Dakota :eek:[/li][li]A place to get discount tickets ahead of time[/li][/ul]

I’ll also gladly listen to any tales you have about this particular Faire, tips you’d think be useful, etc.

(And as a side note: do any of the Minneapolis-area dopers know if the NordicWare outlet is going to be open Labor Day Weekend?)

<< Cooking is great–it’s a socially acceptable excuse to play with knives and fire. >>

I’ve been there and I enjoyed it. I especially enjoyed the living chess game.

However, it has been more than a decade since I went (or even lived in Minnesota) so I can’t provide helpful hints. But I’m pretty sure that the risks of having to park in North Dakota are non-existant.

I’ve not personally been to this faire, but I know some of the people involved there and can give these recommendations with no hesitation:

Skip the Sturdy Beggars’ Mud Show. It’s cute and clever, but unlike most acts where a hat is passed for tips after the show, the Beggars’ ENTIRE show is passing the hat.

Definitely see Zilch the Torysteller. He tells fairy tales in spoonerisms, and he’s a riot (after you see him, it will take you a few minutes to be able to think in “regular” English again.)

Also, be sure to catch the Washing Well Wenches, Human Combat Chess and Puke-n-Snot.

Shakopee’s website doesn’t list the guest entertainment yet, so I can’t personally recommend any of the musical acts.

It is WELL worth the money to buy a feast ticket, especially if you’re a first-timer.

Over the years, the shows and booths have all blended together into one haphazard mass of memory, so I’ll take a pass on those two and address the last points.

Parking really isn’t an issue. There’s a very large field next to the main gate that always has a lot of room. If you want to maximize your day, I suggest arriving around 8 am to get a good spot, watch the opening gate show, and then explore some booths before it gets too packed.

Discount tickets are available at SuperAmerica gas stations throughout the area.

Tip: Don’t fence the Sheriff of Nottingham, even if he watches you for a while and then offers a challenge.

Alas, Puke n’ Snot are now in Florida. OH WAIT! Per, they’re BACK! They are a stitch. You have to be waiting at the end of their last show in order to get seats for the next show.

I also groove Mikel the Magician. Yeah, his act is tired, but dang he’s yummy. I also have always liked the Dew Drop Jugglers over by the papermill.

We usually go 2x/year, once for fun, once for shopping. We also try to go to the Royal Wine Tasting. And yes, we usually go in cosutme. Why? Because we’re geeks.

Discount tickets are usually available at SuperAmerica or, if you work for a large company, they may have discount tix.

Booths to look for? I personally must have at least once popover with honey butter, but that’s just me. For stuff stuff, I see Nancy Chien Eriksen’s booth. Her art is lovely. I also go to Wood, Willows and Whatknots for oils and potpourri. Which reminds me, I need some new perfume…

Best time to arrive? Now that it’s become so commercial, there isn’t any “good” time to go. It’s going to be packed with Edina mommys and daddys no matter when you get there. I would only recommend being there as the doors open.

I have to agree that Puke and Snot are very funny. As an aside, they’ve been doing their show for a * very * long time. I first saw them in the early 80’s and got a t-shirt which I have worn until it was more hole than shirt. Probably still have it. Back then, the joke “Hi, I’m Puke and you’re Snot!” was a riff on Chevy Chase’s SNL line.

Now, it’s:

  "My name is Snot!"
 "That's an odd name!"
 "It's Phlegmish!"

:dubious: You have to wait overnight to get seating? Dang. No wonder I’ve never seen their act.

Last time I went, they had replaced the raptor demo with a Big Cats demo; I don’t know which one they’ve got this year, but they’re both worth seeing.

If you’re into hammer dulcimer, Mark Pilon is definitely worth a listen.

Getting there early enough for the pre-gate show solves the parking issue, as lno pointed out.

My recommendation: Bring a backpack full of snacky goodness and rent a locker (just inside the front gates) for the day. This will save you a small boatload of money; make that a large boatload if you travel with kids…

Oh yes! She is one of my favorites too. I have three of her prints, and my SO has a few of her T-shirts.

I haven’t been to the Ren Fest for a few years, but I plan on going this year. It is a good time.

Ethilrist, you know what I meant. And I second bringing the goodie bag if attending with kids.

Boscibo, This Nancy Chien Eriksen work now graces my ankle permanently. I also have it framed on a wall, alsong with the reverse picture, which she doesn’t show on her website (white backround, blue eyes).

Well, my SO is in the mayor’s entourage and sings with the Court Revellers. Say hi to him! :smiley:

Ten Seconds of Harmony is fun, but DEFINITELY not for the wee ones. Get there early to get good seats.

I called the Nordic Ware Outlet store for you, they’re closed (according to the message they’re only open September 9th, 10th and 11th.)

If you can, choice to go on a day that is forecast for rain, or when it rained the night before.

The extra humidy keeps the dust down, and the crowds smaller.

Thanks everybody for the hints and tips!!! (And stpauler on if the NordicWare outlet was going to be open… ahh well. Means more time spent at Ikea. :wink: )

Now to happily get together my garb… I’ll be leaving my sharp pointy things here at home, since I think airport security is already going to be looking at my bags with increased interest… (“Why do they have so many empty bags stuffed in their bags?”)

I went there for the first time last year and it was absolutely wonderful, so I went again a couple weeks later and it was even better.

Definitely try to see Puke and Snot. They’re hilarious.

I haven’t even seen half the shows there that I’d like to see, nor visited half the booths I’d like to visit. All I can recommend is to get there as early as possible and stay as late as possible and see as much as possible. :slight_smile:

I’ll be there either Saturday or Sunday this coming weekend. The theme that weekend is Irish Heritage. I have no Irish heritage, but there’s a free beer tasting, so I’m so there.

Ooh…if I see that I will buy it, I love cat art. I have a white cat with blue eyes…I have Cat and Mouse, Tiger Walk and Exuberance prints.

I went today and Nacy Chien-Erickson wasn’t there. :frowning: Some guy said last year or the year before was her last year there.

Anyway, when my boyfriend and I were walking in some lady gave us a 2 for 1 admission coupon, it looked like a printout from KS95 (their website?), my BF was up paying when she handed it to me and asked if we could use it. I said hell yeah and we saved the price of one adult admission ($17.95) right off the bat. This was not an official Ren Fair lady, just some random person. So if you are planning on going you might want to check KS95’s website to see if there are coupons.

Here’s a link to the coupon:


happily prints off coupon

Thanks very muchly Boscibo!!!