Whether you casually or fervently enjoy all things Renaissance, the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in Shakopee, Minnesota is the Mecca of renaissance festivals.   This festival, which is modeled after a 16th century English village, has been running since 1971, and it’s the largest one in the United States, averaging 300,000 visitors per year.  Think you’ll make the pilgrimage?  Here’s some essential information about the renaissance fair.

Much like 16th century England, the marketplace is the nucleus of the village.  Here, you’ll be able to buy period-inspired artisanal wares, dine like a prince (or a peasant!) on dishes that range from authentic, with turkey legs and mead, to modern, with coconut shrimp and chipotle salads.  They even offer vegetarian fare with a Renaissance twist, like falafel on a stick.  Once you’ve sated your appetite, you can slip into a fortune teller’s tent, get a fantasy hair weaving, or take your kid on a ride.  You could easily pass away hours in the marketplace alone, but there’s much more to see!

There’s plenty of world-class entertainment options.  Dance groups!  Live music!  Hypnotists!  Story tellers!  Wacky chickens!  (Whatever those are!)  Need we say more?!

Don’t forget to check out the daily events.  While some events at this festival only happen on special days or weekends, there are fun things that happen daily.  If you purchase a ticket to the Feast of Fantasy, your fair admission is covered, you’ll be provided with a six-course meal, two hours of entertainment, and you’ll receive two gifts!  There are also royal events, such as the wine tasting and the pub crawl, as well as family-oriented activities you can access throughout the day, like face painters and caricature drawers.

Pick a themed weekend for a unique experience.  Your hometown might throw a good Oktoberfest, but there’s nothing like throwing back brews dressed in your favorite Seinfeld puffy shirt or fur cloak. This year, the Oktoberfest is September 21st and 22nd, and even includes a beard competition, so come scruffy.  Other themed weekends include the Italian Carnivale, Shamrocks & Shenanigans, and even a pet festival.  You’re sure to find a special weekend that suits your interests.

This festival is constantly evolving.  Every year the Minnesota Renaissance Festival MN adds something new and exciting, and 2013 continues that trend!  This year you’ll be able to see a live mermaid, and hear a captain tell the tale of her capture.  There will also be a fairy house competition in which patrons of the fair can participate.

Have we convinced you to book that ticket to Minnesota yet?  If you need further persuasion, check out the fair’s website  for more information, and, of course, keep checking back with us for more information about other exciting renaissance fairs.