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Des Moines Renaissance Faire - Press Release 2015


-News Release-

-for immediate

"Regional Festival Returns to Des Moines"

The 13th edition of the DES MOINES RENAISSANCE FAIRE will take place at Castle Park, behind Sleepy Hollow Sports Park, on the first three weekends of September. The festival days and hours will be the 5-6-7th, 12-13th & 19-20th from 10am to 6pm. As a 'rain or shine' event, the gates remain open to the public during inclement weather.

This unique attraction has become a showcase of professional touring performers from across the country. The event will present three different weekend themes: Knights & Royals, Highlanders & Lucky Lasses, Pirates & Wenches.

Besides the dozens of traditionally popular acts that will appear at this re-created old English castle town, there will be rotating featured acts on most of the seven stages of entertainment. One of them actually serves as the drawbridge to one of the largest castles in the Midwest, which houses a 'hi-tech theme park' torture chamber museum and offers free tours during festival hours. *It serves as a preview to the park's hugely successful October/Halloween experience.

On the opening Labor Day weekend the featured acts will be stunt artist Crazy Boy Coy from Kansas City, the Iowa-based Have Court Will Travel royal entourage, and recording artists Orckes & Trolles pub trio.

On the second weekend the featured acts will be Sons of the Mist, the music recording group 3 Pints Gone from Milwaukee and "Comedy Hamlet." This nationally touring immersion into hilarious Shakespeare will be presented by Hollywood-based Jeff McLane, who is currently writing and producing a new television sitcom. That saturday will host two authentic and historically themed wedding ceremonies.

On the third weekend the featured acts will be the Dead Pirate Comedy Show with a working animatronic pirate character, the Bawdy Buccaneers singing stage show, and recording artists Pog-Mo-Thon band from Nebraska. This closing weekend, also, brings us International Talk Like a Pirate Day on Sept. 19th.

Of course, what would a Renaissance faire be like without an outstanding equestrian jousting spectacle? This is why Joust Evolution will appear in the tournament arena on all three weekends, doing three shows per day. With this highly trained troupe of stunt performers, the festival offers more than just lance pass jousting. Each year, the arena show ups its game with more surprises such as fire and comedic theatrics.

Other "must have" hi-lights of this popular medieval/renaissance/fantasy affair, who will appear on all three weekends, will be the Blue Rose Mermaid in her water pond villa, Faerie Queen Titania and her treehouse troupe of storybook creatures, the Forking Queen and her fun activities yard at the children's realm, plus William & Blackjack's dragon stories on the children's stage.

This history experience, designed for all age group interests, offers a variety of hands-on activities that are educational as well as fun. Attendees can try their hand at archery (with a daily public tournament), knife-tossing (with a daily public tournament), the queen's darts, DaVinci's sky chair carousel ride, Rolling Hills Stables' pony rides and piggy petting, axe-tossing, the foil fencing duel ring, sword play lessons, daily treasure hunts or assisting with the village blacksmith.
Speaking of village merchants, the festival hosts some 50 artists, craft merchants and olde-world souvenir shops. Many of these purveyors of hand-made fine goods - from clothing to jewelry and weapons to fine leather - also offer working demonstrations of their skills through-out the day. Most of these artisans tour the country and offer historically accurate products that can be found only at a Medieval or Renaissance festival.

These hands-on encounters even extend into several living history camps offered by outdoor museum groups, such as Warwick of Des Moines or the Medieval and Renaissance Society of Omaha. With them you are invited to "step in" and observe an amazing variety of folk crafts and Medieval machines.

From the beginning one of the specialties that drew people to Castle Park, also known as Canterbury-on-Sherwood, was the vast food court of onsite prepared meals, novelty treats and themed beverages. Many of the faire's attendees patronize just as many of these food stalls as they do stage shows. This includes the several pubs with their variety of adult drinks and the Van Wijk Winery gazebo.
The Des Moines Renaissance Faire is the flagship event of Iowa-based Festivals International. It's produced by Gregory Schmidt, who directed the Bueno Gang Kids movies and is a two-time grant honoree from the Iowa Arts Council for 'Innovative Theater'. This is his 25th year in the field of edutainment.

Admission to this nationally touted Renaissance faire is $16 for adults and $8 for kids from 5 to 12. Tots are free. Two-day passes for adults are $25 and 7-day season passes are $40. There are group discounts and a military personnel discount on Sundays. Two-dollar off coupons can be found at most Casey's General Stores, and on-line advanced ticketing is available via

Further details on all of the performers, merchants and activities can be found on, by contacting or tel. (641) 357-5177.

Directions and site information, including other activities and banquet spaces, can be found via, by contacting or tel. #(515) 262-4100.


*Videos & Photos available


Greg Schmidt

Nathaniel James

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