Minnesota Renaissance Festival
In recent years, the burgeoning popularity of genre gatherings like ComicCon has made it possible for fans to indulge their interests with unguarded abandon. But even the most enthusiastic of superhero cosplayers would be envious of the fully immersive fantasyland provided by the annual Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Celebrating its 43rd season, the Ren Fest transforms 22 acres of fairgrounds into a 16th-century village inhabited by chivalrous knights, coquettish maidens, and wisecracking jesters. Ranking among the largest themed events in the U.S., with annual attendance topping 300,000, the festival offers an ongoing parade of hypnotists, storytellers, magicians, gypsies, and dancers. On 16 stages throughout the grounds guests can witness the unrefined jibes of comic duo Puke & Snot, the daredevil juggling of the Danger Committee, and musical performances from an array of wandering minstrels. Those of more literary leanings will want to seek out the "wildly inappropriate poetry of Arthur Greenleaf Holmes," a debauched libertine fashioned as a bard of bawdiness. Each weekend offers unique themes encompassing world cultures, pet appreciation, and odes to various libations. Time-traveling shoppers can even haggle with more than 250 merchants selling artisanal crafts such as handmade jewelry and elaborately designed metalwork. Whether cheering the daily jousts, partaking in a belly-dance competition, or simply sampling a global assortment of foods, attendees will find that the Renaissance Festival offers Elizabethan thrills for all, corseted or not. For more info, visit www.renaissancefest.com. (Photo courtesy Minnesota Renaissance Festival)
Saturdays, Sundays, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Mon., Sept. 2, 9 a.m.-7 p.m.; Fri., Sept. 27, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Starts: Aug. 17. Continues through Sept. 29, 2013
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