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News Archive

September 2006

Saturday, September 30 2006

2:42 PM - Photos from 9/15 finally posted. (posted by Webmaster)
Another small batch of progress photos, taken on September 15th, has been added to the Photo Gallery.

Saturday, September 23 2006

3:25 PM - More video journals posted (39). (posted by Webmaster)
A new video journal (#39) has been posted, and several others have been added to the YouTube.com page that were not there before. Enjoy!

Friday, September 22 2006

6:12 PM - Festival Park's Pumpkin Festival (TV Ad) (posted by Webmaster)
In October, Festival Park will officially become a multi-event center when the second event, the Iowa Pumpkin Fest & Harvest Fair, takes place. A TV ad will start airing soon and, as you will see (below), it's going to be quite a different event for the Town of Canterbury.

Monday, September 18 2006

7:32 PM - DMRF concluded, Pumpkin Festival up next! (posted by Webmaster)
Huzzah! The first season of the Festival Park Des Moines Renaissance Faire has concluded. Be sure to take a moment and send in your Feedback on the event so Sleepy Hollow and the event producers can help it grow in the future.

Up next: The Pumpkin Fest and Harvest Faire, an all-new family event to be held at Sleepy Hollow. Find out more here:

Pumpkin Festival Information

Saturday, September 16 2006

8:44 PM - Final weekend update. (posted by Webmaster)
Could it be? An actual full day without rain at Festival Park? Indeed, the sun came out this morning then kept everyone nice and toasty all day long. Based on what was said at an after-hours picnic/awards ceremony for merchants, today may have been the best attended day all season. If the expected rain only happens overnight, and we get a second day rain free (during operating hours), it will be a first for the new event. Keep those fingers crossed and come out and join us for the last day of the season. (Traditionally, the last day of a multi-weekend event like this can be very interesting.)

The Aerial Angels did their acrobatic display, fire eating and random displays in the streets. Cappamore played several times during the day, then two more songs during closing gate. The "Legends of Sherwood" swordfight team (featuring Robin Hood, the Sheriff, and various pirates) did two presentations, and the new M.A.R.S. (living history encampment) set up one a very large display down in Sherwood Forest with armor and other items on display.

As to the weekend's romance theme, the Tavern Wenches circulated "Valentines" messages throughout the village (don't ask), romantic poems were read, and the cast seemed more complimentary and flirtatious than normal. A fine start to what will hopefully be a returning theme next year.

If you made it out today (or either of the last two weekends), a feedback form is ready for you. Let us know what you want to see in the future!

Friday, September 15 2006

1:09 PM - Final entertainment list posted. (posted by Webmaster)
Yesterday, the final entertainment grid for the final weekend of this year's Des Moines Renaissance Faire was posted. New acts this weekend include the Aerial Angels and Cappamore, among others. Be sure to catch the Hanlon-Lees Action Theater "Jousting Knights and Steed" joust three times per day. They are the jousters featured at the Bristol Renaissance Faire near Chicago (Kenosha, WI) and we are happy to have them back in Iowa. (The Hanlon-Lees formerly did events such as Salisbury Faire, Wybreg Village Ren Fest, Southern Illinois Ren Fest, and many others in the region.)

The weather forecast is on again, off again, with some services predicting only morning showers then a pleasant Sunday, and others stating rain all weekend. Three weekends with rain in the forecast. Thank goodness for gravel roads and roofs...!

Thursday, September 14 2006

1:38 PM - More Register references to the DMRF. (posted by Webmaster)
The Publicity page has been updated. On September 12th, a letter to the editor was posted describing a visit to the festival. On September 14th, the DMRF was listed as one of the Six Pack things to do this weekend.

Romance awaits!

Wednesday, September 13 2006

11:16 PM - Tentative entertainment grid posted. (posted by Webmaster)
A tentative entertainment schedule/grid has been posted to the Entertainment page. It will be finalized Thursday night, pending any changes once others have had a chance to proof it. Two extra performance areas have been added over last weekend, which should help space out the acts a bit more. Special thanks to the Viking Pavilion merchant for allowing their seating area to be used as a performance space (it's a nice covered area in case it rains, and they serve food right there too!).

4:46 PM - Join musical group Clappamore this weekend! (posted by Webmaster)
Join Cappamore on September 16 and 17, when we appear at the Des Moines Renaissance Faire for the final weekend of its inaugural season. The faire will be held at Festival Park, located behind Sleepy Hollow Sports Park near the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.

Brian, Jesse, and T.J. will play five shows a day on the pub stage, and may play the lanes as time and circumstances allow. Of course, we will also be exploring this new, permanent site, catching other entertainers and visiting the shops.

Have a great fall, everyone. I know that we will.

Jesse, Brian, and T.J.
The Boys of Cappamore

Tuesday, September 12 2006

1:58 PM - Aerial Angels for 3rd weekend! (posted by Webmaster)
Be sure to check out the Aerial Angels this weekend. They do a rather interesting acrobatic performance and are making their first appearance here. They are a big hit at the Greater St. Louis Renaissance Faire (and many, many others!) and the DMRF is proud to have them for our opening season.

Entertainers (and visitors): A tentative entertainment grid is being worked on and will be available for preview (likely to change!) maybe tonight. (Entertainers, contact me with any special scheduling requests a.s.a.p.) Using what we've learned the past two weekends, and *especially* listening to the comments from visitors, we will be trying to spread out the entertainment a bit so it's not so continually conjested. We understand having 8 acts happening at the same time makes it difficult to see everything, but we'll at least try to add a few more performance venues to allow for some quiet time in the feasting hall and tavern.

A few more weddings this weekend on the castle stage, so let's hope for dry weather!

Monday, September 11 2006

7:07 PM - A visitor's photo gallery from DMRF. (posted by Webmaster)
Our Sheriff of Nottingham pointed us to a gallery of DMRF photos taken by a visitor:

Flickr Gallery from DMRF

3:47 PM - KCCI ticket giveaway (posted by Webmaster)
Has anyone entered KCCI's DMRF ticket giveaway? The drawing will be held tomorrow on September 12th. Read more on their website.

9:12 AM - Des Moines Hotels: anyone want to help us out? (posted by Webmaster)
We have two performers that want to stay with us for a third weekend (one may even be relocating to Des Moines), and they are wanting to find lodging for the week. If there are any hotels in the area that might be able to help us/them out with one room (or a few different hotels willing to pitch in a room for different nights), that would really help them out. If you might be able/willing to assist them, please call Greg at 515-262-4100 (he's usually out at Sleepy Hollow Sports Park).

Sunday, September 10 2006

7:46 PM - Weekend 2 feedback wanted. (posted by Webmaster)
Weekend 2 has completed. Sunday was raining pretty much the entire day, so the event finally closed early around 5pm. Jousting was not possible (safety reasons) and normal entertainment schedules were compressed to use as many covered areas as possible. We had groups in the Viking Pavilion, feasting hall and even under the royal court tent. Some brave performers got lucky enough to perform on the castle stage or down in the pirate's cove during the times when the rain let up. The rain also allowed imprompto boat racing competitions to be held down Lake Canterbury (a strip of walkway in front of the castle-side food merchants that puddled up). The Crepes and Cream shop took first place in two of the runs.

A feedback form specifically for Weekend 2 has been added. If you treked out, please take a moment to give Sleepy Hollow and the event producers your comments. They made a number of enhancements to the site based specifically on feedback left from opening weekend, so your comments can help improve this event.

One more weekend to go! Is there any chance at all this new event will actually get a weekend that isn't full of thunderstorm predictions?

Saturday, September 9 2006

9:39 PM - 3 Pints Gone and The Limeybirds (posted by Webmaster)
Two of our "only this weekend" acts, 3 Pints Gone and The Limeybirds, did a great job today. Both are musical acts, but quite different. Both should leave a smile on your face or, depending on the song sung, a blush on your cheeks (especially the Limeys!). All the way from Canada, this is the Limeybirds first trip to Iowa, while 3 Pints Gone has been to the state to perform before (but never in Des Moines). Huzzah!

Friday, September 8 2006

8:46 PM - We listened; improvements for Weekend 2. (posted by Webmaster)
There was some great feedback after opening weekend. Here are some items that came up, and how they have been addressed:

1) You could see out side the park to where cars were. Sevearl new walls have been eracted (beyond the castle and such) which should help hide those sightlines.

2) The privies were in plain site. Another wooden wall was erected in front of them.

3) Stages and other items were hard to find. Now, every area on the map is numbered, and large, friendly numbers appear on various stage posts, signs, etc. to help in orienting yourself while in Canterbury.

4) There was no dragon. Now, there is one! (Maybe even two, if we get the second one mounted for the weekend.)

5) There wasn't enough seating. The castle stage now has different seating (no more hay racks) and extra seating has been added around the pirate stage and other areas. Hopefully more people will show up and, once again, there won't be enough seating. (Bring as many folks as you want! We'll keep adding more seating as needed - we have one more weekend yet to go after this one!)

6) Ice Tea! (Well, of some kind, and maybe not quite ready the first few hours but at some point on Saturday). Yep. Ice Tea.

...and other things. More decorations have been going up around the jousting area and castle. The castle backdrop has more work done on it (no, it wasn't done yet for opening -- it's going to be quite a work of art when complete). So, keep checking back!

This weekend the Hanlon-Lees Action Theater "Jousting Knights and Steeds" (as seen at the Bristol Renaissance Faire) join us! Also, the Limeybirds (as seen at Kansas City, Greater St. Louis, and tons of other places).

And if you like great folk singing (and songs about Mooses!) -- 3 PINTS GONE!

It's shaping up to be a great weekend!

9:44 AM - Welcome, Hilton Garden! (posted by Webmaster)
Welcome to our newest lodging supporter:

Hilton Garden Inn, West Des Moines
205 South 64th St.
W. Des Moines, Ia. 50266
515-223-0571

12:37 AM - Vidcast 35 posted. (posted by Webmaster)
Yet another video journal has been posted. It includes a short interview with Kevin and Nicole of the Muddy Misfits.

Thursday, September 7 2006

12:10 PM - DM Juice: A day at the Renaissance faire. (posted by Webmaster)
Check out this week's Juice (free weekly) for a 2-page photo spread from opening weekend of the DMRF. You can also view photos on their website.

11:36 AM - Construction continues. (posted by Webmaster)
During a visit to Festival Park last night (to record video for an upcoming video journal), there was one shop (Crepes and Creame) getting its outside paint job, and signs of some lower panels being installed for the bakery. The Dragon Mine was also seeing some work, and the blacksmith group (from the Guild Hall) was moving in to the corner of Main Street across from The Scots Dragon. Cantebury Sausage was getting its sign installed, too. A few large machines were moving around gravel, but other than that, it was one of the more quiet evenings the park has seen, construction wise, in some time.

7:24 AM - Daily Iowan article on DMRF. (posted by Webmaster)
The Daily Iowan has a neat article on the faire today. It appears you need to apply for a free account to read past the first page, though. (Check our Publicity page for more links.)

Wednesday, September 6 2006

1:25 PM - Feedback feedback! You guys rock! (posted by Webmaster)
Wow, less than 12 hours since the feedback/comment form has been added and several dozens of you have taken time to send in comments - Huzzah! While most of them are almost embarassingly glowing ("It's just as good as the faires in Shakopee MN and Bonner Springs KS, only smaller." - Waukee resident), the Festival Park staff isfocusing on how they can enhance things and add missing items. Here's a few quick updates:

1) Yes, there is supposed to be permanent seating for the stage areas. Weather delays pushed the project back a week or so, and temporary seating had to be arranged for opening.

2) Hopefully merchants will find the time to complete the insides of their buildings. Not everyone had enough time to do that before opening. As to the product lines they carry, please let them know what you are looking for. They really do want to sell stuff to you, so anything you can't find is probably because no one there thought of selling it. (Other than a few park-run consessions, each merchant is an independent business.)

3) Yes, parking layout kept changing daily as the staff was trying to figure out the best way to move people in and around. (Obviously, the rains turning the main lot into a "park here and you'll need a tow truck" on Monday did not help.) Even staff/performers had to park "far, far away" after the rains.

4) Indeed, there will be more signage installed by weekend 2 and 3. In fact, there was a number of signs installed by Monday that weren't present on Saturday.

5) The assortment of foods and merchandise is due to the staff visiting the large events in Shakopee, Kansas City and Kenosha and making category lists. Merchants were encouraged to snag available product lines to offer. Thus, some vendors have rather odd combinations as they try to satisfy these lists. Product lines will continue to expand, *especially* with your feedback! "If you don't see it, ask!" (Several merchants are bringing up more/different inventory for weekends 2 and 3 based on requests during the first weekend.) Pay attention to the Bake Shoppe. She had different items each day!

6) Soda pop brands are locked in contractually since Sleepy Hollow already has an agreement in place with the distributor. In the future this could change, so please let them know what types of drinks you want. (Of course, those of us who love Dr. Pepper hope it doesn't...!) I'm sure if 90% of everyone through the gate wanted Soda Brand X, they'd figure out a way to get it. (Ice tea should be available this weekend, too! Huzzah!)

7) Yes, a list of all product items available needs to be made available. The website list is currently being updated. We've been seeing many folks submitting "wish list" items that were actually available, just not noticed. (Maybe something similar to how the local amusement park has a guide that says "If you're looking for ... find it at ...". Any suggestions on how this should be presented?)

8) Yes, the event plans to grow larger. Take a look at the corn field and beyond. That's all future expansion. Festival Park has about 20 acres of land to grow in to if the market supports that kind of growth. One of the pavilions was literally put up on Thursday and Friday before opening. There's still more to come!

9) Yes, the event is always open to new acts. Know an act you'd like to see perform in Des Moines? Send them our way! With many groups appearing for the first time (or first time in years) in Iowa like the Hanlon-Lees jousters (they do Bristol, and used to do Salisbury/Wybreg/etc.), Scurrvy Dawgs, Aerial Angels (first time in Iowa?), Limey Birds and 3 Pints Gone (as seen at Kansas City) and others, the next two weekends should continue the new tradition of exposing us all to acts we'd only have seen if we blew a bunch of money on a tank full of gas ;-)

10) And lastly... How can you help? If you sent feedback, you already did. Every single feedback form is passed along to Sleepy Hollow and Festival Park staff. You guys are doing a great job helping direct this event!

Remember, some of the largest events in our region started out 25 years ago as a dozen tents on a field and took years to have their first row of merchant shops. With your support of the renaissance faireand other three events planned (OCtober's Pumpkin Fest, next summer's County Music/Cajun Fest, and future Victorian/Dickens Christmas), perhaps Festival Park can get to that level much quicker. (Hey, just because it normally takes years to grow, doesn't mean we can't dream! If we come, they will build it. Or something like that.)

Thanks again for the feedback! It's keeping me (the webmaster) very very busy relaying and filing all the comments. (I plan to give summaries of kudos and requests to the affected merchants/performers. Awesome!)

Folks are really busy right now, but remember -- you can always pick up the phone and call Sleepy Hollow at 515-262-4100 with more questions, concerns or suggestions.

Tuesday, September 5 2006

10:05 PM - Video journal #34 uploaded. (posted by Webmaster)
Another video journal, recorded the night before opening, has been posted. As you can see, things are pretty busy here as more and more things get finished that weren't quite ready for opening weekend (can someone please turn off the rain?).

9:43 PM - Food list updated! (posted by Webmaster)
Check out our food list. Now that we have been open a week, we have a much better idea of just what the merchants are offering. It's not a complete list yet, but it's greatly expanded from what was there before tonight.

7:29 PM - ARTSCENE review of DMRF. (posted by Webmaster)
"Iowa can now boast of an other-worldly escape that is sure to delight young and old alike." - John Busbee, ARTSCENE

7:08 PM - DM Juice posts video tour of the festival. (posted by Webmaster)
The DM Juice website now has a short video tour of the festival, as hosted by one of our roaming pirates. Thanks, Art!

6:42 PM - Feedback form added! We need your help! (posted by Webmaster)
Okay folks -- here's your chance to tell us what you liked and didn't like during our first weekend. Your feedback will directly affect the direction Festival Park is heading in since, after all, we're doing this for you! Please take a few minutes to run through our list of questions:

Feedback Form

Although it's a very, very busy time right now, you might also call 515-262-4100 (Sleepy Hollow Sports Park) to talk to someone (but chances are, the folks working on the Festival will be out at the site finishing things up for weekends #2 and #3).

Thanks!

7:22 AM - DMRF survey form coming soon! (posted by Webmaster)
If you attended the first weekend (Labor Day), we want to hear from you! A survey form will be added to this website soon (probably Tuesday night) which will ask your opinions on what you liked. We are especially interested in knowing if there was any item you wanted to see/find but could not (ie, a certain type of food or merchandise, or some kind of entertainment act).

Please check back after Tuesday night and give us your thoughts! We're also interested in what merchant shop you thought did the best job at being part of the Town of Canterbury, as well as what entertainers you thought were doing the best job (on stage or off) keeping our guests entertained.

Think it over, then let us know!

(And sorry about the rain. The construction crews go back to work this week to complete a few more projects we wanted to have open for the first weekend. Details soon.)

Sunday, September 3 2006

7:22 AM - Des Moines Register (posted by Webmaster)
Thank you to the Des Moines Register for their article in today's paper about the event.

Saturday, September 2 2006

8:23 PM - Festival Park opened to the general public for the first time today. (posted by Webmaster)
Today, thousands of visitors were welcomed in to the town of "Canterbury on Sherwood" for the first time. In spite of bad sounding weather reports (which no doubt scared away anyone who saw them!), the weather was asbolutely pleasant up until about 4:45pm when it rained for about an hour or so.

Numerous local TV stations and print media were on hand, as well as new media types such as the Juice video podcast crew. It was a great way to start a great future for Festival Park.

There were many lessons learned. The Pub ran out of diet colas, bottled water and even rum, and a few other merchants had similar supply problems. (This is a nice problem to have!) The staff at Sleepy Hollow worked continuously throughout the day trying to manage parking, ticket sales, trash cans and hundreds of other items.

A few special events took place, including welcoming Dan as the official first visitor to Festival Park, and a presentation to merchant The Scots Dragon for being the first merchant to sign up for the project.

Thanks to all the staff, volunteers, merchants, performers and especially the visitors for making the first day so wonderful. More details and a small selection of photos will be posted soon (maybe after the weekend).

In the meantime, if you have pictures of the event, please contact us. We would like to create an online scrapbook for opening season.

Six more festival days to go!