Last Updated: 12/5/2020
New areas will be added as part of our 2021 expansion. Details will be added to this page in early Spring.
For those who were not able to make it, here is a virtual tour of last year’s (2020) Des Moines Renaissance Faire.
The Des Moines Renaissance Faire is divided up in to five main areas: Village Marketplace, Non-Forbidden Forest, Fairytale Forest, Royal Food Court, and Wassail Feasting Hall. (Plus the “real world” section we call Free Parking.)
There are five primary entertainment locations (Combat, Fairytale, The Pines, Waterfront and Wassail) plus a number of secondary smaller performance spots for solo musicians or demonstrations.
COVID NOTE: For 2020, the entire village will be spread out to allow for Covid-19 social distancing. Merchant tents will be separated. Large bench seating will not be available, but there will be some small benches and picnic tables will be available for groups. See our Covid-19 page for more details.
Your quest begins in our parking lot where you may leave conveyance contraption (or bicycle, if you traveled by trail). You see an entranceway at a large shelter house. Here you may purchase a ticket and gain access to the festival beyond.
Upon entering, you will find yourself in the Feast Hall, home of music, food, drink and shade. Fine British food is available from Mucky Duck Tavern (formerly known as Ames British Foods when they were at our east side location). The “bangers and mash” do look tasty.
You also see ice cold drinks and wonder – where did they get ice back then? Did they have an ice dragon nearby? There are drinks for everyone, and even adult libations for those with the age and desire. (And bottled water is just $1 here.)
The Feast Hall is home to the Wassail performance area. Our pub band Pog-Mo-Thon can be heard here. Maybe you’ll hang around inside the shade of the Feasting Hall a bit before proceeding. You wouldn’t want your ice dragon ice to melt too quickly…
Royal Food Court
You step out of the feast hall and into the sun. On your right you see a body of water referred to as Loch Fisher by the Scots. To your left is a forest. There are rumors that it is inhabited by mystical creatures, but that seems quite unlikely.
This is our Royal Food Court. Is that the scent of roasted turkey you smell? Indeed, you see folks carrying around turkey legs.
As you explore the area, you find hot and fresh miniature rings of dough, sweetened to perfection. There also seems to be roasted ears of corn, and another odd mashed potato offering known as Shepherd’s pie.
There are certainly more food choices than you will be able to try in a day.
Near the edge of the food court is an encampment and a ring of Combat. Warriors are demonstrating their techniques with swords. The Guardians of the Black Forest put on quite the spectacle.
Beyond the food court is the central area of our faire – the village marketplace. Merchants and artisans from around the land have congregated (socially distant) for our annual celebration. You can browse a fine selection of leather, jewelry, art and more. Some are demonstrating their craft. You may even have your portrait done, or give a strange torture device a try. We have heard it can help your neck and back feel great.
Near the edge of Loch Fisher you see a gathering of villagers at a spot known as Waterfront. These village people, when not dancing, like to take time out to enjoy travelling entertainment. At the moment, some odd looking fellow is balancing precariously on a ladder while doing something with fire. It’s quite the spectacle. A local explains that many other such spectacles happen here throughout the day.
You notice an opening in the forest to the west and decide to explore…
…but you find nothing. Nothing you can see, anyway. Yet, children seem to be quite occupied with something. The insist they can hear voices talking to them. Voices from things with wings. Wings? Such childish nonsense. Perhaps those traveling gypsies might know whats’ going on?
You walk further into the forest. The mood changes and things get a bit more serious.
You come across an encampment. Colorful tents are scattered around, and there is activity of all sorts going on. The people of Warwick have opened up their community as sort of a travelling living history museum. They are demonstrating various skills of their era.
Beyond the encampment is a performance area called The Pines. There is often some form of live entertainment happening here. It is nice and shady.
You exit this area and find yourself further down in the Village Marketplace.
While you may have reached the end of the village, you certainly haven’t reached the end of the fun. This is going to be a long day. Perhaps spending $3 to come back a second (or third) day is a good idea…