Future of Minnesota Renaissance Festival Still in Limbo
Seven months before it's supposed to begin, the status of the 2023 Minnesota Renaissance Festival is still up in the air.
The StarTribune is reporting that the Scott County Board failed to make a final decision on renewing the festival's conditional use permit during their regular monthly meeting, Tuesday (January 17) in Shakopee.
County officials now say they will hold a public hearing on the permit February 21 and will make a final decision either that night or at the March 7 meeting.
Last month, officials in Scott County announced they were 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.
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.