The opening day of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has been pushed back two weeks, as festival organizers continue to hammer out COVID-19 safety protocols with state officials.
Mid-America Festivals marketing coordinator Stephanie Whipps confirmed Tuesday the festival is slated to begin Sept. 5 and run every weekend through Oct. 4.
Following the cancellation of the Minnesota State Fair and Scott County Fair, along with numerous local festivals, the Renaissance Festival is poised to be one of the largest attractions in the region this summer. The festival typically draws about 300,000 people each year.
“Currently, outdoor events in the State of Minnesota are limited to 250 people. We are having discussions with Minnesota State officials regarding our 2020 season,” Mid-America said in a July 21 press release.
Festival organizers are developing a preparedness plan, but the September opening date appears to largely rely on an improved coronavirus forecast.
“It is our belief and hope that the amount of people testing positive, the severity of the cases and the advancements in treatment will trend in the correct direction in Minnesota and that Governor Walz will issue a new executive order resulting in significantly more people being permitted to attend outdoor events in Minnesota,” the press release said.
In the meantime, a working draft of the preparedness plan to be released in the “near future.”
Staying in Shakopee
The September opening will mark the festival’s 49th year, and was previously reported to be it’s final one in Louisville Township, located just outside Shakopee. It was announced Tuesday, however, that Mid-America’s lease with the landowners, the Malkerson family, has been extended “at least through 2021.”
Up to this point, Mid-America has signaled a transition to a new site in St. Lawrence Township, just outside Jordan, as the company purchased land near the Scott County Fairgrounds over the several years. The first acquisition was a 150-acre piece of land just west of Jordan along County Road 59 (Delaware Avenue) north of Highway 169.
This marks the third lease extension in recent years. The company has been looking to relocate the festival for nearly 10 years because the current 150-acre site continues to shrink to make way for silica sand mining operations.
More information on the festival’s safety protocols will be reported as details are announced.