Once upon a somewhat long time ago…I used to attend the Minnesota Renaissance Festival every year. Times change and other opportunities present themselves and you don’t always keep traditions alive. This year was mine and Cyn’s first time back in many years. It was also our first time back as non-smokers. Wow. I guess I always knew that second-hand smoke stinks, but I never imagined to what extent. There were cig and cigar puffers everywhere. It was especially bad when eating and when we sat down to watch Puke & Snot perform. Another misnomer is even in the outdoors, tobacco smoke doesn’t dissipate as quickly as one might think. My sincerest apologies to those I have smoked around and thought nothing of it. I hope to never again pick that nasty stinky habit up.
I would be very surprised if this last Saturday was not a record attendance for the festival. There were carload upon carload of people stacked up on HWY 169 for a few miles. I remember having to deal with some traffic, but not like this. We didn’t exactly show up at an optimal time either. I would highly recommend arriving 2 hours either side of noon; it may not have mattered this day though. We drove in with a wave of a few thousand I am sure. Both sides (King & Queen’s gates) parking areas where stacking up quickly. It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to get there and another hour and fifteen minutes to get in. Leaving was a similar experience.
There was one thing abundantly clear, this festival had grown considerably during our absence. It is somewhat tricky shooting at a festival like this. There is so much going on in the background of every frame. I shot the festivities with my nifty 50mm. Anything worth it would have to be pretty close. I usually shoot with a 70-300mm, so this was a completely different experience than the norm. Not only could I not zoom, but I was fixed; not wide or narrow. This is one place where everyone is pretty o.k. with getting their picture taken though. It certainly made for an enjoyable afternoon.
We meandered about watching people, shows and other performers. We had our share of food and drink as well. After about 5 hours we had our fill. Here are my shots from the afternoon.