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Des Moines Renaissance Faire - Press Release 2014


-News Release-

-for immediate

"Iowa's Canterbury-on-Sherwood"

On the west edge of Pleasant Hill lies one of the most unique attractions in Iowa. It's the re-created olde English castle town known as 'Canterbury-on-Sherwood' where the DES MOINES RENAISSANCE FAIRE is held, annually. Its enduring mystery comes from a hidden profile, as it all remains in waiting behind a wall of trees next to Sleepy Hollow Sports Park.

Each year, starting on Labor Day Weekend, the multi-faceted festival comes to life by allowing the public to traverse across a 60 foot bridge to the majestic entrance gate. The acres of quaint shops and lawns beyond the entryway have drawn tens of thousands of patrons over the course of the last eight years.
Iowa's history re-enactment event, featuring the allure of Medieval and Renaissance times, runs on weekends from August 30th to Sept. 14th, including Labor Day Monday (10:00AM to 6:00PM).

This 'state fair' from Europe of the 1600s is produced by Gregory Schmidt, who is a two-time Iowa Arts Council grant winner for 'Innovative Theater'. This year he and his talent coordinator, Lynne Melssen of Have Court Will Travel, have brought together an ever expanding retinue of professional stage performers, experienced improv street theater actors, numerous journeyman artisans and skilled craft demonstrators.

The Renaissance faire, in fact, showcases the best talents in these fields who can be found in Des Moines, across Iowa and from numerous surrounding states. The featured show could be Joust Evolution's equestrian spectacle on the tournament field or the varying headliner acts that come in on each weekend.

With the three weekend themes of "Knights and Royals", "Highlanders and Lucky Lasses", "Pirates and Wenches" a wide variety of performers will be making their way in and out of Des Moines. This will include The Escapologist, Crazy Boy Coy, 3 Pints Gone, the Blue Rose Mermaid, Sons of the Mist, the Bawdy Buccaneers and many others. The full cast of village characters comprises close to 200 actors and merchants.

The most intriguing aspect of the event is probably the 65 artisan merchants and olde world crafters who come in from all over the country to sell items usually only found at a Renaissance festival. This involves a wide variety of custom jewelry makers, besides the traditional wares found at a history re-enactment event.
It was the vast food court, with everything from turkey legs to bread bowl stews, that first drew so much return traffic in the first years of the faire. All that is complemented by a new tavern that sells most of the popular adult libations, alongside a wine villa.

The "history" at the Des Moines Renaissance Faire is found in the numerous living history re-enactment groups and live demonstrations that are placed through-out the shaded grounds.

The "family fun" that it is known for is found in the hands-on games and activities, such as archery, knife-tossing and children's crafts.

Admission is $16 for adults, $8 for kids from 5 to 12 with tots free. The two-day pass is $25 and the all-seven-day "season" pass is $35. On-line discount tickets can be had via, and $2-off coupons can be found at metro area Casey's General Stores.

Location and directions information is at Event details and show descriptions are at

Contact: Greg Schmidt *photos and video available

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