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August 19, 2016

Minnesota Renaissance Fair Photographs

Filed under: Our Favorite Things — Lori Williamson @ 3:15 pm

Huzzah! ‘Tis once again time for the greatest summer festival Minnesota has to offer! (Yeah, that’s right, I said it. The Greatest.)

RF 1.jpg

A group performs traditional dances on a stage with musicians, 1972.

This year the Minnesota Renaissance Festival celebrates its 46th season! Minnesota’s is the second oldest Renaissance fair in the United States, and has one of the highest attendance rates. Started in 1971, the Festival began in a twenty-two acre field in Jonathan, Minnesota, and consisted of little more than tents, stages and straw bales.

Renaissance festivals are outdoor events where performers recreate historical settings and costumes and entertain visitors with music, shows, food, and more. The Minnesota Renaissance Festival is set in 16th Century England, with the addition of playful fairies, elves and mermaids. Visitors can shop for a variety handcrafted treasures and witness the exciting jousting tournaments throughout the day. It’s no wonder this beloved event has grown to such a phenomenon!

The Minnesota Historical Society houses a collection of photographs taken in the second year of the Festival at the Jonathan location.

Vendor stands and tents next to open field, 1972.

Members of the Lebhaft Medieval Ensemble performing, 1972

Members of the Lebhaft Medieval Ensemble performing, 1972

Small child in costume climbing onto a stage, 1972

Small child in costume climbing onto a stage, 1972

Anyone who has been to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival can agree that while the landscape in these photos may be quite different from the grand, colorful structures now found in Shakopee, the enjoyment of the attendees and excitement of the performers remains the same (as well as balloon fencing!!).

Fencing booth worker helping a child into gear, 1972

The Renaissance Festival is open weekends starting August 20 through October 2. I hope to see you there!

Stephanie Olson
Collections Assistant

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