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Yep, Minnesota Renaissance Fest 2020 is COVID canceled

Brandon Sweeney

Brandon Sweeney

What’s the opposite of huzzah? That’s the reaction we’re expecting from die-hard Ren Fest fans.

Coronavirus has claimed another victim: Ren Fest. If you want to see some jousting, hear an olde English version of AWOLNATION’s “Sail,” or try your hand at archery while dressed as a pirate, you’re gonna have to wait another year.

“We worked hard the last five months to develop a plan and mitigation measures which we firmly believe would have resulted in a safe and healthy Renaissance Festival,” an announcement states on Facebook. “However, it is clear that the current State directives will not change significantly in time to allow the Festival to open this fall.” 

Event organizers were hopeful that they would be able to host the super popular, multi-week event by moving the start date back to September, but that strategy didn’t pay off.

“Although we disagree with the current State directives that prevent a spacious outdoor venue from opening,” the announcement continues, “we recognize the difficulty of the State government’s task.”

Ren Fest, an event owned and operated by Mid-American Festivals, draws in over 300,000 attendees annually. It’s one of the oldest and largest events of its kind in the United States.

It’s also one of the last major summertime events to cancel in light of the 2020 plague. The organization was still hopeful as of late July. 

“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," states a Facebook post from last month.

The Fest’s Shakopee neighbor Valleyfair officially coronavirus canceled its 2020 season earlier this month; meanwhile Canterbury Park is up and running, as is the Mall of America’s amusement park.

While the unwashed masses won’t be showing up for the main event, the Renaissance Festival is still promising to host modified Feast of Fantasy evenings, as well as a Halloween-themed Phantom’s Feast in October.