Huzzah! Labor Day weekend heralds the beginning of Autumn and the annual DES MOINES RENAISSANCE
FAIRE. For three glorious weekends the permanent Tudor village of Canterbury-on-Sherwood will showcase an enhanced lineup of entertainment and "edutainers" being booked in from all over the U.S. Patrons from around the nation will converge on the historic village setting, complete with castle and full contact jousting show, at Festival Park, located behind Sleepy Hollow Sports Park. This highly unique festival starts Sept. 5-7 and runs the 12-13 and 19-20.

With three different weekend themes (Scottish Highland, Romance & Revelry, Buccaneers & Pirates) visitors can now experience the eight show stages, two living history exhibit areas, a children’s realm, a Sherwood Forest glen, forty quaint merchant shops, two pubs, a wine villa, a faerie treehouse, a pirate cove, a knife-tossing and archery shooting gallery, an open fi eld battle zone, a large equestrian jousting arena, hand-powered rides, two feasting halls, additional food merchants in the expanded food court, a gem mine, various demonstration booths, a kids soft -sword dueling ring, a kids jousting tilt, landscaped gardens, a royal pavilion for the queen, and one of the biggest castles in the Midwest featuring a dungeon tour on the inside. Newly constructed for 2009 is a floor on the grand feasting hall and a roof on the Guild Hall. Th is ‘merry olde England’ castle town called Canterbury-on-Sherwood is the new high adventure history immersion on the Pleasant Hill side of Des Moines.

Last year’s festival drew curious visitors from as far away as Canada and Mexico. Th is year’s event will treat its numerous guests to an unusual selection of entertainers, who will also be traveling from distant cities. 

Besides the regular cast (of 250 costumed characters, strolling musicians, singers, dancers, faeries, comics, jugglers, fire-breathers, mimes, acrobats, story-tellers, and historic personas) the festival showcases some 25 professional performing troupes and solo acts who present as many as 80 shows a day in the various staging areas.

New this year will be the re-designed jousting shows, three authentic Renaissance-styled weddings, the “Warwick” living history camp, “Sons of the Mist” Scottish knights, “Guardians of the Black Forest” medieval German sword battles, Jeff McLane’s national touring “Comedy Hamlet” play, “Paul the Gooseman” and his costumed geese on parade, Danza Mystique belly dancers, the Royale Pirates of Tortuga, the Bawdy Buccaneers and several additional comedy street-theater groups.

The Joust Evolution equestrian troupe will be featured on the national TV show, “Saddle Up With Dennis Brouse” this fall on IPTV.

The producers of the DES MOINES RENAISSANCE FAIRE are offering admission discounts. Corporations and organizations wishing to arrange for a discount admission for their employees/members should contact Mary Flatt at Sleepy Hollow.

The hours of royal festivities will be 10 am to 6 pm daily. Tickets can be purchased at the gate or in advance at metro Hy-Vee stores. Admission is $16 for teens and adults, $8 for kids 5 to 12, with tots free. A two-day pass is $23 and a full season pass is $30. (Prices already include tax.)

The complete listing of performers, scheduled stage shows, merchants, food vendors and historical demonstrations will appear on, starting in August. Event inquiries can be made to or tel. (641) 357-5177. For location information, you can call (515) 262-4100 or go to for directions. 

Photo CDs available. Click here for entertainment information.

Greg Schmidt
(641) 357-5177

Max Kenkel
(515) 262-4100