Des Moines Renaissance Faire Construction Updates
Here's a list of recent construction news and updates.
- Saturday, May 3 2008 - 2008 landscaping update...
From Dori, our festival landscaper...
82--count 'em!--82 Miscanthus sinensis have been planted! This ornamental grass (commonly called Zebra grass) grows 4-6 feet tall and produces striped foliage. It has been planted in numerous locations throughout the 20-acre park and will form the backbone to a number of new landscape beds being installed this spring. These plants are courtesy of Susan Gunnink of Clive, Iowa. A hearty "Huzzah!" to Lady Susan!
- Sunday, June 24 2007 - Main street and misc. construction update.
As of this past weekend, the main street (and many other buildings) have now had their lower sections completed and installed. No more buildings that look like they are on stilts. (Long time followers of this project will know that this is by design; the bottom panels are removeable in case another '93-style flood happens. The panels can be removed so water can rush through the site easier instead of knocking buildings down.)
In addition, most all of the doorways now have doors installed. Some are functional doors, while other are security doors that will be completely removed during festival hours. Even the main gate columns now have doors installed and lower panels.
Landscaping has continued, with dozens of trees planted and much work on various flower beds and new greenery. It should look much different this year compared to last year.
If you want to take a sneak peak at the progres, you can always come out to the Wild West Music Fest this weekend (June 30-July 1). Using a discount coupon from Hy-Vee, you will be able to attend for as little as $8 (Sunday price with coupon) and see what Festival Park looks like two months before the renaissance festival. To learn more about this event, visit www.wildwestmusicfest.com. (Note a $1 parking fee applies, and a full weekend pass is $20 if you don't have a coupon, or just $15 for Saturday or $10 for Sunday with no coupon. But you can find a Hy-Vee on your way, right?)
Here's the new TV commercial:
- Tuesday, June 12 2007 - Restrooms and more under construction!
The machinery has moved back in to Festival Park. The first work on the new public restrooms has started, with the framework for the new men's and women's bathroom now up.
Ground clearing has begun on a new five-unit building (similar to the ones on main street) which will reside at the end of the lane that runs down towards the corn field (past the Summerset Winery and Dragon Mine locations).
The main street and other buildings will have the rest of the work on their lower levels started soon as well.
Look for video journals coming soon! In the meantime, here an odd video of cowboys at Festival Park (it's the folks doing the Wild West Music Fest out there having fun on a TV commercial shoot).
- Sunday, October 15 2006 - More Festival Park progress...
Festival Park continues to evolve. The castle wall mural keeps getting more detailed. Various "characters" are now painted in, including a jouster on horseback (who has a remarkable resemblance to one of the actual jousters from opening weekend). There are also jugglers and other townspeople to be found -- almost like a "Where's Waldo?" game. Several more characters are penciled in ready to be painted.
Meanwhile, over at Sir David's Wild Game, new signs are up (wooden and painted, replacing the temporary paper/printed signs used during the festival). Several other merchants have expanded their signage and booth decorations during the Pumpkin Fest (going on the first three weekends in October). The Pumpkin Fest has also created a whole new theme for Festival Park with orange decorations, corn stalks and other Fall colors throughout the village. Seeing tons of Halloween themed inflatables and banners is quite a different look for the village of Canterbury
If you've ever wanted to see Festival Park at night (without being escorted out by Des Moines or Pleasant Hill police for trespassing!), the Halloween "Scream Park" event will be going on Thursday-Sunday the final two weekends of October. The "Terror Trail of London" haunted forest walk starts out across the river in the woods (with werewolves), then crosses over the bridge and enters High Street of Canterbury (complete with a few scares, lighting effects, sounds, and sometimes even the London fog - very different!). Guests (victims?) then turn right and head down towards the "Fields of Screams" corn maze, encountering Jack the Ripper and one of his victims. The corn maze itself is full of anywhere from a few to "many" special guests ready to make you change your mind about entering. (During the day, the corn maze may be safely explored -- for free -- at the Pumpkin Festival.) After finding their way out, visitors then walk through the Pirate's Cove area for one (or two... or three) more encounters before exiting and returning back across the bridge.
It's been quite fun to lurk in the darkness and watch visitor reactions as they first approach Canterbury and wonder aloud "what's this?" or "when did they build this?" Indeed, it's a very big set for a haunted house.
So, join us with the kids (no worries, the Lumberjack show and tavern will keep the grownups entertained too) during the day for the Pumpkin Fest (one more weekend after today!), or at night for the "do it all for $19" Haunted events -- two haunted houses plus a "rat sewer crawl" (now built in to one of the houses, but skippable for those who can't handle 200 feet of crawling. There's also the haunted forest walk, plus the corn maze, and a hayrack ride (with the story of The Headless Horsemen told as it beings you from stop to stop before journeying up through the woods of Sleepy Hollow) and, at last, a stop for marshmallow roasting.
There's even a blood covered trailer selling hot cocoa and snacks out near the haunted houses... Fun time for the brave. And a great value (it took us just under three hours to get through everything this past Saturday night).
Advice: They can only run so many people through at night, and Saturday the 14th they sold out by 8:30pm! They start selling tickets as early as 6pm, so show up early if you want to experience it. They expect many sell out nights the rest of the season. Good luck!
- Thursday, September 7 2006 - Construction continues.
During a visit to Festival Park last night (to record video for an upcoming video journal), there was one shop (Crepes and Creame) getting its outside paint job, and signs of some lower panels being installed for the bakery. The Dragon Mine was also seeing some work, and the blacksmith group (from the Guild Hall) was moving in to the corner of Main Street across from The Scots Dragon. Cantebury Sausage was getting its sign installed, too. A few large machines were moving around gravel, but other than that, it was one of the more quiet evenings the park has seen, construction wise, in some time.
Read older construction updates from April 2005 thru May 2006.