First Time Faire Goers

The Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow  in Des Moines, IA is a magical experience for both young and old. When you enter our gates for the first time you will go back in time to an era when kings and queens ruled, knights jousted, and the arts came alive! With so much to see and do we wanted to give any newcomers to Renaissance Faires or Sleepy Hollow’s Castle Park a guide on what they can expect at Iowa’s only permanent Faire site.

The Themed Weekends:

The excitement begins Labor Day weekend and extends through the next two weekends in September. Each weekend has its very own theme which changes some of the look, entertainment, and activities that there are for you to experience.

Each weekend the Faire is open from 10am to 6pm, rain or shine. For information on ticket prices and other details such as directions please visit our Event Details page.

All 3 weekends enjoy a full contact joust, royal court, pirate cove, fairie realm, gypsy camp, living history encampments, Friendly Friars Pub and Meadery, multiple food shoppes and so much more! Like Shopping!!!
September 4th-6th – Celtic Ceilidah: a celtic celebration of dance and culture plus Highland games.

Special feature a concert by national touring act Seven Nations. Love plaid, all things Celtic, men in skirts and a pint of Guinness? Then this is the weekend for you.

September 11th-12th – Octobeerlesque or Meade me at the Faire

This weekend features craft beers and the Renaissance Meade collection.

September 18th-19th – Steampunk, Pets, & Pirates plus Cosplay

Nourish your soul with PPP and some fantasy. A pirate steampunk experience with your best friend. Woof!

Taking Part:

There are many ways to enjoy the Renaissance Faire and many things to do. From the moment you approach the bridge and cross over into our little village the street characters, stage performers, and even our vendors are excited to interact with you! Feel free to play along and be part of the world. You can meet the Royal Court, play with fairies, observe artisans at work, participate in games of skill and chance, and enjoy performances at any of our 9 stages on the grounds. You can find a list of our performing acts here.

Dressing up?

Coming in costume is always welcome but not required. Please feel free to come as you are, a modern time traveler to the middle ages. Or join us in costume if you prefer. Our performers welcome all comers from any time period to be an integral part of the excitement our village has to offer. We welcome costumes of all kinds, we all know this is fantasy don’t we, so Cosplayers come on in. If you do choose to dress up please be sure to read our Policies regarding weaponry!

Shopping:

Browse through more than 50 specialty shops. Bring a purse full of coin (all accept paper, some may accept plastic), for our merchants offer the finest in jewelry, weaponry, leather goods, candles, clothing, children’s items, chocolates, pottery and more. If you are a newcomer to Renaissance Faires and would like to be able to come in costume the next day our vendor and crafts people have many options to offer and many take custom orders as well. A list of this years vendors can be found here.

Food:

Come hungry! Our selections from around the world to turkey legs will delight even the pickiest eater. We offer vegan and gluten free menu items. You can see a list of all our food vendors here.

Helpful hints for your first time:

  • Every day the gates open at 10am rain or shine. Performances begin at 11:00am so wander the grounds and check out the many vendors as you plan your day. This year we are adding concerts beginning at 5:00pm by national touring groups. The park is open until 6:00pm so plan to make the most of it.  September can be a tricky month for weather so be prepared with sunscreen and maybe an umbrella. Shows will go on despite the weather and there are many covered stages were you can continue to enjoy the Faire in case of rain.
  • An ATM is located at the front gate for your convenience.
  • While this is a family event, there are many styles of shows ranging from children oriented to ones with adult themes. If you are unsure if a show would be appropriate, please ask a performer about it. After hours “Smokers” are for 21 and older only. (this is strictly enforced. IDs will be checked)
  • Be sure to read our Policies so you know what is and is not allowed in Castle Park.