The first Minnesota Renaissance Festival took place in the fall of 1971 in a small field located near Jonathan, Minnesota. Since then, the annual celebration has relocated to Shakopee and grown to become the largest Ren Fest in the entire country.

This year's event, which is scheduled for 7 straight weekends, kicks off on Saturday, August 19th. Below you'll find info on each weekend's special theme and see everything that's new this year at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.

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Did you know hundreds of thousands of people attend the Minnesota Renaissance Festival each year? It's the biggest Renaissance Festival in the United States with an annual attendance of 300,000.

There is a different theme each weekend and a lot of opportunities to get in for free or at a discounted price. Get all of that info below.

2023 Themed Weekends at Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Minnesota Renaissance Festival

AUGUST 19 – 20: Once Upon a Time

Experience the magic of the realm by exploring the shops, becoming a knight, meeting mermaids, and fighting with Vikings!

The weekend is filled with family-friendly fun and all kids (5-12yo) get in free with an adult ticket purchase.  K-12 teachers, school faculty, & staff, can also get in free by showing their school ID.

AUGUST 26 – 27: Highland Games

Compete in the  Keg Toss or Kilt Competition.

The Highland Games will have you cheering for your favorite athlete in this 7 series event.

A special food drive is happening this weekend - Bring 5 food items to the gates and you get a Buy One Get One Free Adult Admission pass.

SEPTEMBER 2, 3 & 4:  Wine, Chocolate, and Romance

Satisfy your sweet tooth during the chocolate festival!

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival will honor active or veteran military members this weekend. "Any member of the armed services, active or veteran, will receive up to TWO (2) Buy One Get One Free Adult Admission tickets to the festival."

Photo Credit: Nicholas Narog - Minnesota Renaissance Festival Facebook Page
Photo Credit: Nicholas Narog - Minnesota Renaissance Festival Facebook Page


Pet rescue groups will be on hand to showcase some amazing animals. There will be pet training demonstrations and fun contests for dogs.

This is also First Responders Weekend: "Personnel who qualify for up to TWO (2) Buy One Get One Free Adult Admission tickets to include: Firefighters, EMTs, Uniformed Police Officers, State Troopers, 911 Dispatchers, Correction Officers, Evidence Technicians, Investigators, Medical Professionals & Nurses."

SEPTEMBER 16 – 17: Love For The Arts

From murals to dance to cosplay and beyond, you’ll fall in love with the arts!

Scout Days: Boy and Girl Scouts that come to the festival this weekend in their uniforms will receive half-price admission.

SEPTEMBER 23 – 24: Bold North

<p> This expedition into the north includes exploration of the Viking Encampment, Made in Minnesota vendors, and stories of Legends &amp; Lore. Huzzah!</p><p> </p>

This is also Knights on Bikes weekend - Save $5 on your ticket when you show a valid motorcycle license.

Renaissance 4
Sara Robinson/Getty Images

SEPTEMBER 29TH: Festival Friday 


Grab your friends and join the Minnesota Renaissance Festival for a day of shopping and wine for only $25! The ticket includes admission, a free glass of wine, a gift bag, and the opportunity to receive discounts from select artisans all day!

SEPT 29 - OCT 1: Oktoberfest 

Dress to impress in your Lederhosen &amp; Dirndl, show your strength in the Stein Holding contest, &amp; give us your best yodel!

Minnesota State Fair New Foods, Drinks, and Vendors for 2023

The new foods for the 2023 Minnesota State Fair have been announced! There are also new drinks and a few new vendors to visit.


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