The Scott County Board approved a permit Tuesday, allowing Sever’s Fall Festival to set up shop in Louisville Township later this year.
The festival is held on weekends in the fall, and has been held on 40 acres adjacent to Canterbury Park for the past 20 years.
The festival is now moving to 3121 150th St. W., 40 acres of land previously used by the Minnesota Valley Nursery for tree stock and 50 acres of open agricultural land. Sever’s says it’s three times the size of the Canterbury location.
Scott County Senior Planner Greg Wagner said Sever’s has also been working with the county transportation department to help fund safety improvements on County Road 14, including a right turn lane into the property, a center left turn lane for westbound traffic and a new paved entrance.
In addition to the fall festival, Wagner said Sever’s proposed to operate a winter festival from January to March, potentially adding a holiday lights display from the end of November to the end of December.
Applicant Mitch Michaelson voiced his commitment to safety and “being a good neighbor” at the meeting.
“We don’t want to be a nuisance,” Michaelson said. “We think that we’ve been a good fit for Shakopee for the last 20 years and that we can build something out here that the community can be proud of and that we can operate for many years to come.”
Louisville Township Supervisor Bob Pieper voiced concerns about concerts and amplified music causing issues in the long term, saying although the permit requires adherence to state standards, those standards allow blasting to be heard “four miles down the valley.”
“I trust their word for now, but there’s nothing in here that would say they can’t bring in a country band or rock band to play down the road,” Pieper said. “As the township supervisor, I have to worry about my constituents complaining that their property values are going down and the world’s coming to an end.”
Commissioner Michael Beard questioned why a routine permit request turned into a two-year long process, saying the long process makes harder for businesses in Scott County to improve.
“(Sever’s Festival) is an outstanding organization that’s been down the road from my house for 20-some years and I’ve never heard a complaint,” Beard said. “I would think that the neighbors would be delighted for the tax (revenue), growth and increased value of their property.”
Sever’s has rented locations in the past, but its owners decided to buy the land and give the festival a permanent home.
“We’re excited to call this our forever home and to maximize the space,” Nicola Peterson of Sever’s said in a press release.
Sever’s has added a weekend and will run from Sept. 13 through Nov. 3, with “bigger and better” mainstay attractions, new vendors and expanded activities. It’s also planning a holiday light show and winter carnival this year.
The light show will kick off after Thanksgiving and run through early January. Then after a break in January, a winter festival is planned, with ice castles, carvings and art as well as a luge and ice-skating rink. The Sever’s family anticipates hosting group events and weddings in the next three to five years.
Sever Peterson and his family were inspired by hedge mazes in Europe to create what they say was the first corn maze in the Midwest in 1997. They expanded to become a fall festival, and the 2019 season marks their 23rd year in business.