Minnesota Renaissance Festival May Have to Shut Down
One of Minnesota's top attractions for more than 50 years is in danger of being shut down.
The Minnesota Renaissance Festival may not be able to continue in its current location, near Shakopee, because of an ongoing issue with parking.
According to a report in the Star-Tribune, officials in Scott County are considering revoking the festival's permit to operate after roads leading to the venue were plagued by massive traffic jams during the 2022 event.
The county says officials at Mid-America Festivals, which runs the Minnesota festival, as well as similar events in Kansas City, St. Louis, Michigan, and Florida, were aware there would be reduced parking this year after a lease had expired on a lot that provided ten percent of the total on-site parking, but that that information was never relayed to local officials.
At times during the festival's seven-week run from late August to early October, attendees reported waits of up to two hours to get a parking spot.
During a recent public hearing on the matter, some local residents testified that they were unable to leave their homes because of traffic jams in the area.
One area patio furniture shop owner claimed that 80 percent of the local businesses around the site shut down during festival weekends because customers couldn't get to their establishments.
Scott County officials will take up the issue again at a January 17 board meeting. The festival cannot operate without a county permit.
The event has grown into one of the country's largest and most successful Renaissance fairs, attracting about 300,000 people each year.
It has been operating at the current site since 1973.