Lynn and Doug Nodland

Doug and Lynn Nodland

What does renaissance mean to you? Well, I (Lynn) must admit that last weekend I was not looking forward to a renaissance, or a Renaissance Festival! I was looking forward to a rest!

We had been working very hard and I don’t like crowds — all reasons to not go. Yet, we thought you and others might like hearing about the Renaissance Festival and Doug was excited to go. So, we went. Well, we both loved it! We felt rejuvenated with a rebirth of new ideas. It’s a life lesson to be open to new experiences.

Remember what we were taught in high school about the Renaissance period? Here’s what we found in our quick review about it and why it’s so important. The Renaissance encompassed the 14th to the 17th century. It started in Florence, Italy and then spread across Europe.

In French, the word “renaissance” means “rebirth.” There was a resurgence of works by artists, writers, philosophers and scientists. Among the “greats” from that era are Galileo, Shakespeare, Copernicus and Michelangelo. Also, Leonardo Da Vinci is known as a Renaissance man, someone who has several different gifts and talents. He was a famous painter and also a philosopher, writer, scientist and musician.

Now we’ll share our experience of people reliving that era when we went to the Renaissance Festival.

When we arrived at the Renaissance Festival, we were warmly greeted by “Benjamin the Reformer,” aka Steve West. He’s actually a pastor, now living in Milaca. His words, “Welcome, welcome to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival! What a lovely day to be here! When you weren’t here when the gates opened at 9 o’clock, I was worried sick. I didn’t think that you were comin’ at all. But you’re here now! And you’re going to have a wonderful time! Enjoy your day! Don’t get lost. Stay sober and don’t get into any fights. We hate when people get into fights!”

Humorous greeting, especially since he didn’t know we were coming and basically we don’t drink! Plus, as success coaches we’re all about helping people not to fight. He was charming and it was a fun introduction to the spirit of the festival.

What we encountered at the festival was a feast for the senses. For a peek of what we saw, go to We realized that it isn’t only the actors that dress up. Many of the people who attend also come in full Renaissance garb. We saw maidens, countrymen, kings and queens and knights and more types in exquisitely adorned outfits. We went to several activities, comedy shows, a fire circus, and enjoyed music of various types. There were people on stilts and other people exhibiting their talents. We also saw live animals including camels and elephants.

Now we know why people buy a season ticket. It’s a friendly community, we felt welcomed and appreciated the whole time and there’s just too much fun going on to pack it all in on one day!

We met a modern day Renaissance man, William Booth, who was dressed as Gandalf, the wizard from “The Hobbit.” William has significant accomplishments in different areas. We asked him to share some of the things he’s done. William said, “I’m the pioneer of one-hour eyeglass service. Back in 1981-82, I was making a pair of eyeglasses every 15 minutes. I do a lot of different things. I’ve gone to ice fishing contests and told people in advance that I was going to win the ice fishing contest. The people at IBM in Rochester just laughed at me. They laughed in December. They laughed in January. They laughed in February — but on Feb. 26 they stopped laughing because I won a 4x4 Dodge Ram pickup!” Maybe William really is a wizard!

William also shared about the Renaissance Festival. He said, “I think we have a good Renaissance here. It’s really neat that a lot of people show up and get dressed and join the festival here.”

What about you? Do you have a renaissance going on in your life right now or you’d like one? Nido Qubein said, “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start.” We encourage you to start, welcome new experiences and get whatever coaching, mentoring, or training you need for rejuvenation and rebirth to fulfill your dreams.

You may also enjoy fun and rejuvenation by attending the Renaissance Festival in Shakopee. It runs every weekend through Sept. 29, plus Labor Day and Festival Friday, Sept. 27. You can get details on

Chanhassen residents, Doug and Lynn Nodland are success coaches and owners of The Balance Center. Doug and Lynn can be contacted at More information and videos at


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