Here ye, here ye, the legend continues at the 20th annual Renaissance Faire of the Midlands. This unique family event offers a long-standing tradition of fun, excitement and great memories. Faire-goers from the Midlands and beyond journey to the rolling hills of the Iowa Western Community College campus to partake in one of the most magical celebrations in the Midwest. This year's Faire, presented by the Bluffs Arts Council, runs June 13, 14 and 15.
"The Renaissance Faire is a unique event that families can enjoy together," said Laural Ronk, executive director of the Bluffs Arts Council. "It's also the largest fair of its kind in Iowa and Nebraska. People would have to drive quite a distance to attend another event of this caliber."
For the youngest members of the kingdom, the Wee Folkes Glen awaits with hands-on activities, a petting zoo, games and rides including a 20-foot swinging seahorse and a 50-foot by 50-foot maze. Additionally, a variety of age-appropriate, interactive performances with a medieval twist are featured on the Glen's King Richard Stage.
The New Riders of the Golden Age will engage in the Royal Joust at 8 p.m. Friday, 3 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 5:30 p.m. Sunday. This talented troupe has jousted professionally since 1982. Twenty years of developing equipment, refining technique and performing live result in an incredibly realistic presentation.
With the Faire's six entertainment stages, visitors can leave their troubles behind and immerse themselves in 16th century-inspired humor, dances, music, animal demonstrations and much more. Faire favorites Tortuga Twins, the Jolly Rogers and Smee & Blogg will be back with plenty of laughs while groups such as Celtic Echoes and the Omaha Pipe & Drum will entertain with their unique interpretations of Renaissance music.
In the Artisan's Market, Faire-goers will discover a wide variety of gifts and services to suit everyone's taste. Featuring 65 juried artists, shoppers will find items such as oil paintings, gargoyles, glass ornaments, wax roses, renaissance costumes, fragrances, re-enactment weapons, masks and pottery. .Available services include handwriting analysis, French braiding, tarot card reading and Menhdi body art.
Finally, visitors will not want to miss the Faire's tantalizing food and libations which run the gamut from the plentiful -- king-sized turkey legs and cheese fries -- to the gourmet -- Greek pastries, tandoori chicken and deep-fried cornish hens. Washed down with a glass of fresh-squeezed lemonade or a strawberry smoothie, 'tis truly a repast fit for any king or queen!
Hours are 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Admission at the gate is $12 for adults and $3 for children ages 5 to 12. Children under 5 are admitted free.
Advance tickets for adult admission are available now at area Hy-Vee Food Stores, Burger King restaurants at the reduced rate of $10. In addition, children 12 and under, accompanied by an adult, can pick up free admission coupons at these locations and at all area Target Stores.
Travelers may take I-80 to Highway 6 (Exit 8) in Council Bluffs. Renaissance signs guide the way to the Iowa Western campus. Parking is free on the campus of Iowa Western Community College and off-campus at Sherwood Plaza, 2803 East Kanesville Boulevard. Complimentary shuttles will transport guests to and from the Kmart at Sherwood Plaza on Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday.
The Renaissance Faire of the Midlands is presented by the Bluffs Arts Council, Iowa West Foundation, Iowa Western Community College, Cox Communications and Ameristar Casino Hotel. Additional support is received from Aquila, Bluffs Run Casino, Burger King Restaurants, Gordman's, Harrah's Casino Hotel, Hy-Vee Food Stores, Ibsen Costume Gallery, Jelecos Systems, N.P. Dodge Real Estate, Omaha's Mix 96.1, Pepsi Bottling Group, Target Stores, The Daily Nonpareil, The Omaha Weekly Reader, TierOne Bank, U.S. Bank, Wells Blue Bunny and Wimmer's Meat Products.