The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is one of the oldest and largest renaissance fairs in the United States, with over 700 entertainers, 120 food booths and 275 craftsmen.  It was started in 1971 in Jonathan, Minnesota and later moved to Shakopee, Minnesota, a suburb of the twin cities.  It has hosted many well-known performers such as magicians Penn and Teller and The Flying Karamazov Brothers juggling troupe.

Entertainment at the fair today includes the Danger Committee which has a juggling and knife-throwing act.  The act can be quite thrilling and has an air of danger.  Thankfully, Caleb McEwen, one of the members, says, “I’ve never just embedded a knife in their [the other members’] chest.”

Tuey is a juggler and ropewalker who includes pyrotechnics in his act.  He admits that he has actually burned his rope a few times but manages to make it look like it’s all a part of the act.

Then, there are the Minnesota Traditional Morris Dancers wearing white and green outfits, waving handkerchiefs and clanking sticks in English dances.  This is an eclectic group which has included a computer programmer, a doctor, a lawyer, a house painter and a professional dancer.  They’re all just guys who like to dance together, and it doesn’t matter where they come from.  When you see their performance, you’ll also be tempted to join in!

There’s Twig the fairy who doesn’t say a word, but children love her all the same.  She just walks around spreading fairy dust and fairy stones.

Three times a day, there is jousting in the central arena where those dressed up as the royal family are in attendance.

You can sit back and enjoy one of these shows after walking around the fair, which can get tiring.  Some shows are rated PG or R, so be sure to check before taking children in.  However, the bawdy jokes are usually in the form of innuendo which children probably won’t understand.

Another thing to remember when attending the fair is to bring a lot of cash because many vendors may not take credit cards.  Wear comfortable shoes and bring a bottle of water, especially if it’s a hot day (you can’t take food into the fair but water is allowed).  Above all, have fun!