I used to go to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival (MnRF)* multiple times per season, and for a few years even sprung for the season pass. Eventually I gave up on that as having the pass made it seem an obligation to "get my money's worth" out of it every weekend that had halfway decent weather. And after seeing all the little Iowa faires that used to be, and Siouxland, and WiRF when it was (and even a few truly bad faires that were one-shots or ought to have been) MnRF paled in many ways.
But it's been several years since I went, I had the time this year, and opening day/weekend generally has the most enthusiasm with the least crowd, and my mother and a friend of hers and my sister would all likely be there. So today I went. Before I caught up with folks (admittedly more by chance than plan) it was alright, but did seem like it would be a rather "meh" day.
After that, well, it was this fellow's first RenFest and he was excited about almost everything and that certainly helped things. Having family around didn't hurt either. But I suspect that my one day at MnRF will be enough for this season. A few things struck me:
1. The prices. I know I've not been to anything besides Siouxland for some time, and I was expecting "faire prices" but not quite as bad as what I saw. I think the only thing on par with other places were the pickles.
2. The gravel for pathways is really coarse. I don't recall noticing that before, but then MnRF was my first RenFest and what I went to often so I may have been used to it then. Now I am used to other places and what MnRF has seems of really poor quality. I now wonder how they don't have more ankle injuries and the like.
3. I met Anna (of Siouxland) for a moment and the brief conversation rather confirmed the feeling I've long had, which is that everyone (patrons, vendors, entertainers) has more fun at Siouxland. Evidently at one after-faire gathering someone had tried to poach some the folks who performed at Siouxland only to get told, in essence, "You don't get it. We('d) pay to be here!" (Not that the folks at MnRF aren't having a good time. It's that at Siouxland they have an even better time.)
Was it a bad way to spend a day? No. I might do it again. But not this season. I'd much rather save up time & money for Sioux City Riverssance in October. And if I miss MnRF next year, well, I won't be upset.
I've seen some call it MRF, but I've seen MRF for Maryland too. Gee, multiple states starting with M and someone figures that MRF can only mean ONE thing?