History & Expansion

This page will cover notable expansions made to the grounds from year to year, all the way back to when Castle Park was first built.

2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2016 | 2017

2006 – Year 1 at Castle Park

  • A very landscaping-bare Canterbury Plaza greeted guests in 2006. Wood chips and mud was all the rage that year!
  • Castle Park opens at Sleepy Hollow Sports Park on September 2nd, 2006! A new home for the Faire is finally ready. There was construction equipment still moving around the site mere minutes before the guests were let in! Severe raining proved that the new home had some drainage issues, but also proved that regatta boat races were possible in front of the royal food court area.

Sep 2-4, 2006 – Pirates, Wenches & Scallywags
Sep 9-10, 2006 – Kilts, Celts & Competitions
Sep 16-17, 2006 – Romance, Rogues & Revelry
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2007 – Year 2 at Castle Park

  • Privies that flush! Huzzah! (Some events in the region that have been around decades still do not have flushing toilets and real sinks!)

Sep 1-2-3, 2007 – Pirates, Wenches & Rogues
Sep 8-9, 2007 – Vikings, Knights & Bravehearts
Sep 15-16, 2007 – Romance, Wine & Revelry

Notable Expansion in 2007:
  • Permanent restrooms. Located between the jousting list and the archery/games area, new flushing facilities have been installed.
  • Landscaping. Throughout Festival Park, our landscaping group has been planting trees, flower beds and grass.
  • Main Street construction. The buildings on main street are closer to completion, with lower panels built and installed, as well as doors for most of the doorways. Some ceilings have been installed. The ticket area also has doors and lower panels now.
  • Merchant shop improvements. Some merchants have been further completing their building.
  • The Potter’s House has newly themed lower panels.
  • Amos Fabulous Foods “Chinese” location has doors and lower panels (replacing opening year nut shop).
  • Crepes and Cream has added a patio, tree and landscaping.
  • Summerset Winery has continued to expand their patio bricks.
  • The Viking Pavilion has added new themed roofing.
  • 8/19: K’s Bake Shoppe has a new patio bricks, and new sod has been set between the Bake Shoppe and Off With Your Bread next door.
  • New merchant buildings. Four new merchant shops are under construction for 2007. They are located at the end of “Dragon Way” (the path to the right at the end of main street). The shops are located between Dragon Mine and Sir David’s Wild Game near the corn maze area.
  • New Bridgework. During the off-season when the entrance bridge was moved, it was raised and enhanced slightly.
  • New fencing. A wall now separates the Sherwood Forest and Pirate’s Cove area. New fencing has been installed along the walk between the bridge and the ticket entrance area.
  • Stage Improvements.
    • 8/19: Marick Castle Mural. Artwork continues on the mural.
    • 8/19: Minstrel Stage. A colorful backdrop has been painted.
    • 8/19: Children’s Stage. A new stage set is being constructed.
  • Clean and Dirty Stage for mud show.
  • Dungeon Tour expansion added to the corner of Marrick Castle.

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2008 – Year 3 at Castle Park

  • King Oberon’s Faery Realm treehouse.
  • In 2008, the first bit of expansion occurred with the addition of four new merchant shops (expanded in size, and built after the pattern used for 5+ shops on one of the High Street buildings).

Aug 30-Sep 1, 2008 – Pirates, Heroes & Daring Duels
Sep 6-7, 2008 – Highlanders, Celts & Lucky Lasses
Sep 20-21, 2008 – Romance, Wine & Royal Revelry (Due to intense rains, this weekend was moved one week later, conflicting with the Omaha area Midlands Pirate Festival. Some merchants and performers had to depart to attend that event.)

Notable Expansion in 2008:
  • Four new shops. Four new connected shops at the far South end.
  • Treehouse. King Oberon’s Treehouse added at far corner of the park, expanding the Children’s Realm.

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2009 – Year 4 at Castle Park

  • The Guild Hall/Village Marketplace gets a new roof!
  • 2009 was probably the first year the park starting to look really pretty as landscaping started to mature. Further steps were taken to weather proof the park with the addition of a real roof over the formerly canopy-covered Village Marketplace, and a new concrete floor in the Feast Hall.

Sep 5-7, 2009 – Highland Fling – Celts & Kilts
Sep 12-13, 2009 – Royal Romance – Flavors & Favors
Sep 19-20, 2009 – Buccaneer Pirates – Treasures & Pleasures

Notable Expansion in 2009:
  • Landscaping. Planters added.
  • Guild Hall Roof. A real roof was added to the Village Marketplace, replacing the tarp covers that were used the first few years.
  • Shade. More canopies over stage areas (Children’s, Minstrel) added, along with a few pieces of garden furniture to relax on.
  • Feasting Hall Floor. Concrete floor added to the Wassail Feasting Hall, making the floor stay crunchy even in rain.
  • Bavarian Cafe takes over the former Marcos location, expanding the building and redecorating in a German motif.
  • Ames British Foods takes over the former Canterbury Sausage location, bringing even more international food.
  • Dorlamagne’s Living Treehouse. Expansive landscaping behind one of the new South end shops. Walk through and take a look!

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2010 – Year 5 at Castle Park

  • Canterbury Plaza, September 4, 2010.
  • Massive flooding affects the entire area, from close to the Sleepy Hollow lodge all the way to Festival Park, but Sleepy Hollow’s cleanup crew quickly got the park in to shape better than ever!

Sep 4-6, 2010 – Knights, Barbarians & Heroes
Sep 11-12, 2010 – Scots, Britons & Irish
Sep 18-19, 2010 – Pirates, Persians & Buccaneers

Notable Expansion ins 2010:
  • Even more Landscaping. Throughout Festival Park, our landscaping group has been planting trees, flower beds and grass. New “living tree” gazebo structure on High Street.
  • Signage. After having names since year one, the first street signs finally go up, indicating HIGH STREET, DRAGONS WAY, and CASTLE LANE (with more to come).
  • Guillotine. Food merchant, Off With Your Bread, finally gets the guillotine they have been talking about adding since opening year.
  • Other Shop Improvements. Many cosmetic improvements at merchants such as Bavarian Cafe, Ames British Food, Amos Fabulous Foods, etc.

Castle park expansion in 2010

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2011 – Year 6 at Castle Park

The Dungeon Tour, installed in the corner of Marrick Castle in 2007, receives a high-tech, computer controlled update. A new narrated five minute tour guides visitors through displays from a much darker time. Over the three weekends, the show evolved, with changes made to the soundtrack and timing.

Sep 3-5, 2011 – Knights, Barbarians & Heroes
Sep 10-11, 2011 – Scots, Britons & Irish
Sep 17-18, 2011 – Pirates, Scallywags & Buccaneers
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2012 – Year 7 at Castle Park

New banners and ribbons decorate the entrance bridge and the castle. The Dungeon Tour (aka Torture Chamber museum) returns with a reprogrammed show control system and automatic gates to keep the tours going more efficiently.

The weekend themes from 2011 return:

September 1-3, 2012 – Knights, Barbarians & Heroes
September 8-9, 2012 – Scots, Britons and Irish
September 15-16, 2012 – Pirates, Scallywags and Buccaneers
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2013 – Year 8 at Castle Park

August 31-September 2 – Knights, Barbarians & Heroes
September 7-8 – Scots, Britons & Irish
September 14-15 – Pirates, Scallywags & Buccaneers
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2014 – Year 9 at Castle Park

A new winery joined us, taking over the former tavern location (aka, Saucy Wench Tavern). The former Viking Pavillion becomes the new home of the expanded Saucy Wench Tavern with expanded bar and new decorations, including “port holes” that could be opened to let in extra air and light. The torture chamber tour once again receives more minor show updates.

August 30-September 1 – Knights and Royals
September 6-7 – Highlanders and Lucky Lasses
September 13-14 – Pirates and Wenches

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2016 – Year 11 at Castle Park

With new management and a new name (The Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow) the winds of change have swept the faire grounds! No longer is the English Castle alone in its singular power: Though it still anchors the north, it has new rivals vying for the favors of faire-goers!

  • The Scots have invaded the south—and they’ve built a castle! Constructed for the 2016 season, this exciting feature adds new drama to the Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow. Featuring a large stage and flushable privies, the Scottish Castle offers Highland games, bagpipers, sheep—and plenty of intrigue!
  • A Gypsy caravan troupe has infiltrated the southeast. Beware the seductions of the nubile dancers on their stage!
  • La! A small contingency of the French are staking claim to one corner in the south, not far from the Scots. Turmoil ensues! Ooh la la!
  • And lastly, cries of “Valhalla!” echo down by the river! It seems a Viking horde has landed on the shores as well. . . .

Stages: (five performance areas added in 2016)

  • Castle Stage
  • North Meadow (MaRS Living History)
  • Jousting Field
  • Royal Feast Hall
  • Minstrel Stage
  • Pub Stage
  • Children’s Stage
  • Pirate Stage
  • Scottish Castle Stage
  • South Meadow (Falconry, Highland Games, Sheepdog demos, Vikings)
  • Gypsy Stage
  • Forest Glade (Warwick Living History)

Stage Acts:

  • 18 stage acts in 2016 (only 9 stage acts in 2015)

Lane Characters:

  • 16 Lane characters (only 10 lane characters in 2015)

September 3–5, 2016—Knights & Royals Weekend
September 10–11, 2016—Highlanders & Lucky Lasses Weekend
September 17–18, 2016—Pirates & Wenches Weekend

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2017 – Year 12 at Castle Park

In 2017 the Sleepy Hollow staff worked hard to bring in some exciting new acts as well as incremental changes to the site.

  • A new stage was added to the South Glen. Initially, we used it for an experimental Dirty Laundry show but eventually settled on calling it the highland stage and the home of our troupe of Scotts.
  • Many of the existing buildings received a badly needed facelift. Freshly stained wood and brightly painted gypsy wagons could be seen all over the grounds.
  • The docks in front of the Dark Horizon pirate stage expanded greatly. A multilevel stage perfect for dynamic sword fights is now a feature of pirates cove plus new seating and a paint job for the ship itself.
  • Battle Chess was a new performance added in 2017, an audience participation show with a mix of stage combat and boffer weapons in the hands of audience members. As part of the set, a huge siege tower was built to oversee the battle.
  • For the first time in years, we changed up the weekend themes, making Labor Day weekend Vikings & Shieldmaidens Weekend with 3 separate Viking encampments populating the village and performed combat demonstrations.

Siege tower built in 2017 for the Battle Chess show at the Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow

September 2–4, 2016—Vikings & Shieldmaidens Weekend
September 9–10, 2016—Highlanders & Lucky Lasses Weekend
September 16–17, 2016—Pirates & Wenches Weekend

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