See the Minnesota Renaissance Festival's best-dressed festivalgoers

RenFest diehards spend months designing and hand-making their costumes.

"People consider [dressing up in costumes] weird, but if you go somewhere that everyone is weird, it's just normal," Deshawn Gardner said. That is the sentiment among most of the 300,000 annual attendees of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.

People spend months designing and hand-making everything from wizard hats to Viking boots just for the chance to share their passion with total strangers.

Caitlin Mueller poses for a portrait dressed as a viking. “I love that this brings the magic back to your life [...] you lose your imagination as an adult but this brings it back,” Mueller said.
Deshawn Gardner poses for a portrait while dressed as the grim reaper. “People consider [dressing up in costumes] weird but if you go somewhere that everyone is weird, it’s just normal,” Gardner said.
Maxwell Skinner, left, and Diego Broth Castro dressed as a king and knight. The boys are neighbors and share a birthday so they wanted to do a costume together. “I wanted to fight the real king to see who the true king is,” Maxwell said.
Abby Thao with her handmade crown of flowers. “I cosplay everywhere, not just at the Renaissance Festival, but this is just a place I don’t feel judged,” she said.
Liviana and Jimmy Worth were dressed as characters of their own invention, “Lil Gnarlsworth and Jameson.” “I love history and I love tinkering and making things myself,” Jimmy said.
Andrew Mueller dressed as a viking. Andrew and his wife, Caitlin, celebrated their anniversary by traveling from Denver to the festival.
Jamison Davis said, “I love the magic of it all and I love bringing an experience to kids.”
John Tverberg dressed as Papa Emeritus from the rock band Ghost. “My favorite part is seeing people get excited about my costume and ask for pictures,” he said.
Robert Williams as Gandalf the Grey. “I love ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ and just love being Gandalf, too,” he said.
Laura Santiago poses in a self-made 18th-century dress. “I work in technology and stare at a screen all day so this is a way to express my creativity,” she said.
Matthew Krikava dressed as a knight. “I love meeting other people who like to immerse in the old culture,” he said.
Rian Vellichor tunes her guitar. “There is nothing like performing at a Renaissance Festival [...] it combines a nerdy sensibility with playing music,” she said.
Nick T. posed for a portrait. “It’s adult dress-up once a year,” he said.
Bill Hedrick as Gandalf the Grey. “I love the research and construction and all the ‘omigods’ I get from people as they walk by [...] I’ve had 20 people ask me for a picture and I’ve only been here 30 minutes,” he said.
Kristin Thesing poses for a portrait wearing a homemade costume featuring the Minnesota Wild. “I am a goalie and last year I did a Philadelphia Flyers costume but this year I had to represent the home team,” Thesing said.