DES MOINES – It may come as a surprise to many Iowans that there is a secret nineteen acre Renaissance village, “Canterbury-on-Sherwood”, tucked behind the trees at Sleepy Hollow in Des Moines, allowing patrons the unique opportunity to travel back in time to the age of enlightenment. The village is only accessible three weekends a year, beginning Labor Day weekend.
Adventuresome patrons will cross a bridge over the creek and journey back in time. Rain or shine, they will find the village teeming with entertainers on nine stages, food from many lands, costumed characters colorfully dressed, merchant shops featuring handmade wares, and a pub serving up beer, ale and bawdy entertainment.
Twice per day, all of the attention focuses on the joust arena, where honorable knights and not so honorable knaves compete in a heated tournament. Everyone is encouraged to cheer for their favorite knight, and jeer the rest by visiting the loser in the torture chamber, located in the formidable castle.
Canterbury-on-Sherwood is a magical place where visitors mingle with royalty, pirates, fairies, belly dancers, musicians, mercenaries, knights and rascals. A typical visit would begin with wonder and amazement upon entering the hidden village. Patrons would then proceed quickly to sampling local food, and then checking out an array of entertainment from comedy gold to exploits bold, with the song of both beautiful wenches and sharp swords providing the background music for their journey. A relaxing beer at the pub while listening to a tavern act segues nicely into a friendly wager with friends over one of the many games of skill. For younger fans, the Children’s Stage provides all day entertainment, making this festival truly one for all ages.
It’s hard to see everything in one day at the Des Moines Renaissance Faire, and even harder considering each weekend has a separate theme. For the first weekend, Canterbury-on-Sherwood is invaded by Knights, Barbarians and Heroes. Weekend two heads north and with a little luck celebrates Scots, Britons and Irish. Finally, the festival wraps with good swashbuckling fun during Pirate Weekend. If you can’t decide which weekend sounds fun, the Faire offers two-day and season pass options, in addition to the single day ticket.
The event dates are September 1-3, 8-9, and 15-16. Gates are open from 10-6 each day. Discount coupons are available at area Casey’s General Stores. Discount tickets are sold at metro area Hy-Vees and online at redtrucktickets.com. Tickets are also available at the gate. Of course group rates are available for corporate and club outings, or just a big group of friends, and you can set your group up as fine as any king by simply calling 515.262.4100.
More information on the festival is available by visiting dmrenfaire.com or calling 515.262.4100.
For information on entertainers and merchants contact Gregory Schmidt at 641.583.2209.
Bullet Highlights For The 2010 Des Moines Renaissance Faire
Location:Festival Park at Sleepy Hollow
4051 Dean Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50317
Dates: September 1-3rd, 8-9th, 15-16th
Times: 10 AM Opening Gate
6 PM Closing Gate
Tickets: Adults $16
Children Age 8 to Age 5 $8
Under 5 Free
Adult 2-Day $25
Season Pass $35
2 full contact jousts daily
5 new headliner acts (Molitov the Gypsy, 3 Pints Gone, Crazy Boy Koy, Thee BlueBeard, Jack
Sparrow (from Minnesota renaissance Festival, with his water balloon canon.))
Living history encampments by The Warwick, Stitched and Steel, Medieval and Renaissance
Society, Sons of the Mist
5 shows performed by the Royal Court
Over 100 performances daily including pirate, juggling, magic, music and comedy
50 artisan merchants and food vendors
Over 300 costumed characters
Contact Max Kenkel (contact info above) for photos. Sleepy Hollow Sports Park 4051 Dean Avenue Des Moines, Iowa 50317 515-262-4100 O 515-262-6457 F