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The Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow


The Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow is “giving back” this year: The festival is partnering with the Youth Emergency Services & Shelter (YESS) the first weekend, the Metro Arts Alliance the second weekend, and the Animal Rescue League (ARL) of Iowa the third weekend. By purchasing your tickets with codes supplied to those organizations, you can make a significant contribution to them. “We are excited to be able to support these great organizations,” says Rick Flatt, faire manager.

The gates open September 2 at 10 a.m. for the 12th season of the Renaissance Faire at Sleepy Hollow. The festival welcomes you to join the royal celebration and submerse yourself in an era gone by. The most popular attraction is the live joust, where you can cheer for your favorite knights and later meet them and their valiant steeds. The joust, however, is just the tip of the iceberg: You also may have a run-in with the Scallywags in Pirate Cove, hang out with Queen Catherine and King Edward in the Royal Pavilion, get into mischief with Titania and her fairies at the Tree House, shake your booty while dancing with the gypsies, and even experience the life of Vikings at one of several living-history encampments. All in all, there are ten stages of entertainment and four additional performance areas encompassing all types of “edutainment.” The entertainment liaison, Buddy Jackson, says, “We try to have something for everyone and to keep new acts coming in each weekend.”

Among the new venues this year is the Dirty Laundry Stage. The Laundry Lasses will air their dirty laundry and create havoc for passersby. Unlucky (or lucky) patrons may even get caught in the shenanigans of flying water and underthings.

“Beyond all the great entertainment is some seriously cool shopping,” says Dori Hein, vendor liaison. “We have more than 60 merchants scattered throughout Festival Park. Faire-goers will find clothing, leather goods, jewelry, toys, pottery, weapons, and so much more. Much of it is handmade by artists, too.”

All that activity can make a person hungry and thirsty. Patrons should fear not. There is a wide variety of food and drink choices at the faire. “Our top seller is always the huge roasted turkey legs,” says Flatt, “though our new dish, poutine, may surpass the legs — it’s that good.” (“Poutine” is a French-Canadian dish featuring fries topped with cheese curds and slathered in gravy — not to be missed!) Options to slake one’s thirst abound. There are all the normal nonalcoholic beverage options as well as more adult libations. The Saucy Wench, the Friendly Friar, and Van Wijk Winery offer beer, mead, wine, and of course rum.

Prep Iowa

“The challenge is to see everything in a single day,” adds Flatt. He doesn’t think it’s possible, so Sleepy Hollow also offers two-day and season-long passes in addition to single-day passes. Tickets can be purchased online at, and discount coupons are available at Casey’s stores located in Polk County. 

Event Dates: Sept. 2-4 (Labor Day Weekend), Sept. 9-10, Sept. 16-17 Website:
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