Ren Fest on a budget: Tips and tricks
If you plan your day right, admission will end up being the most expensive part of the festival. At the gate tickets will cost you $20.95 (less than most major concerts), and if you buy them beforehand you save a few bucks. You can get $17.95 tickets at Subway, Whole Foods, Super America, and a handful of other locations around the Twin Cities (or go online and print them out from the event's website).
Carpooling is ideal, as there is often traffic so you'll save on gas. Also, parking is plentiful and free.
Feel like taking a risk? Put on your best costume, show up before the gates open, and enter the costume contest. Whoever gets the loudest cheers from the crowd gets in for free. Another tip: Kids seem to win this contest more often than adults, so you might want to strategically enter the rug rats if you have them.
Jousting: Watch armored knights sprint towards each other with pointy sticks while riding horses. Shows are at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m.
Parade: Get ideas for things that you would like to check out by watching performers and vendors march through the grounds each day at 11:30 a.m.
Free wand making: Kids can cast spells like Harry Potter at this free craft workshop in the Children's Realm.
Petting zoo: Meet lizards and elephants for free.
- Mac's and the Folkstone Pub are excellent places to stop for a beer and listen to some traditional Irish music.
- The Shepards Green is the spot to take in sheep herding demos, or watch a bocce ball tournament.
- Looking for the tight-rope walking dude that ends with fire? Tuey is your name, and he's at the Grove Stage.
There will be free Grain Belt beer tastings at 12:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. August 27-28 and September 10-11.
Free belly dancing lessons: Learn how to shake your shimmy at 10:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. September 3-5.
Highland games: Watch feats of strength like log and heavy ball throwing throughout the day September 10-11.
Wine, Chocolate, and Romance weekend (September 18-19) has tons of free stuff to do, including:
Free wine and chocolate samples: Sign up early to get a buzz and share some sweets with your sweetheart.
Free vow renewals: Get married again!
Free homemade wine tastings (Sunday only).
Guinness Beer Tastings: We know you know what it tastes like, but we won't tell. (October 1-2).
The Minnesota Renaissance Festival runs through October 2. For more information, visit the official site at www.renaissancefest.com.