The future of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival is still unclear after the Scott County Board held off Tuesday on deciding whether to revoke or change the event's permit to take place this summer and fall.
County officials will hold a public hearing related to amending the festival's conditional-use permit on Feb. 21, with revocation still a possibility. Final action is expected on either Feb. 21 or March 7, county officials said.
"For all involved, we don't want to wait much longer because you just start getting closer to ... their festival season and that's just very risky," said Scott County Commissioner Barb Weckman Brekke.
Officials began discussing revocation after roads leading to the Shakopee site were clogged for miles during 2022 festival weekends, causing headaches for fair visitors along with local residents and businesses.
Visitors reported two-hour waits to get a parking space, county staff said.
Festival representatives and county officials have been meeting about the permit since December, said Brad Davis, the county's planning manager. On Friday, festival representatives submitted an application to amend the permit.
Davis told the County Board that discussions have included ideas like no longer offering free parking but instead requiring visitors to have a $5 parking voucher, with the number of vouchers limited during the three last weekends, which are traditionally the festival's busiest.
Event organizers are also considering staggering visitors' arrival times, opening the parking lots earlier, delineating parking spots and hiring a full-time staff person to monitor parking.
In addition, Davis said, organizers suggested expanding the number of visitors who bus to the event on either Minnesota Valley Transit Authority or SouthWest Transit buses.
But commissioners wanted more details on such propositions, including concrete numbers.
"It would be great to see those ideas firmed up a bit or put into a little bit more legal obligation," Brekke said.