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2016 Iowa-area festivals as of 1/27/16 :

Apr 31-May 1:
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Nebraska Ren Faire
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May 7-8, 14-15:
Ren Fest of NE
Papillion, NE

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1/28/2016 - RFoN now has a website.
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Latest News!
Check this news page daily! The most recent 14 news items from the past two weeks will be available on this front page. For older items, be sure to see the news archives. If you have any festival news, rumors, or announcements, be sure to let us know so we can post it here.

Thursday, January 28, 2016 9:26AM
FestivalNews icon 9:26 AM - RFoN now has a website. (posted by JohnPaul )
The Renaissance Festival of Nebraska (not to be confused with the Nebraska Renaissance Faire) now has a dedicated website:


The other festival is

They are running back to back, with NebFaire being April 30/May 1, and RFoN being May 7-8 and 14-15. This means there will be THREE weekends of festivals back to back. Huzzah!
Thursday, January 21, 2016 11:45AM
FestivalNews icon 11:45 AM - Omaha World Herald covers the "dueling faires" (posted by JohnPaul )
This article sums things up pretty well, at least to my understanding.

What it doesn't mention, which maybe nobody cares about, is how the original Nebraksa Renaissance Faire Facebook page was just renamed to Renaissance Festival of Nebraska, taking all the fans of the Nebraska Renaissance Faire with it. Many may not even realize that they are now liking a different event :)

Renaissance Festival of Nebraska (old NebFaire page):

Nebraska Renaissance Faire (new page that had to be created):
Monday, January 18, 2016 12:57PM
FestivalNews icon 12:57 PM - Renaissance Festival of Nebraska news. (posted by JohnPaul )
The 2016 Renaissance Festival of Nebraska (not to be confused with the Nebraska Renaissance Faire) will be held two weekends this year:

May 7-8 and May 14-15, 2016
11am to 6pm, rain or shine.

It will be held at the Bellevue Berry Farm and Pumpkin Ranch (former home of the Nebraska Renaissance Faire and Midlands Pirate Festival):

1101 S 48th St
Papillon, NE 68133

For more details, visit:

They will also be hosting the Midwest Pirate Fest (not to be confused with the Midlands Pirate Fest or the defunct Midwest Renaissance Festival) there on August 27-28, 2016.

I'm going to have to come up with new abbreviations for these. We've been using MPF for Midlands Pirate Fest, so I guess I'll use MWPF for the Midwest one. We used to use RFotM for Ren Faire of the Midlands, so I think RFoN my work for the Ren Faire of Nebraska. (Of course, events/things in other areas probably already use most all these combinations of initials. Twenty years ago, we had an Internet resource called The Scribe that was kind of the "official keeper of abbreviations" for all these events. Today, there seems to be hundreds of indexes that list Renaissance festivals.)
Thursday, December 10, 2015 12:43PM
FestivalNews icon 12:43 PM - Nebraska back to two festivals for 2016 (posted by JohnPaul )
It looks like the Omaha area will be back to two Renaisance festivals for 2016. The Nebrask Renaissance Faire will be in a new location (its fourth since it started in 2003), and the Renaissance Festival of Nebraska will have its second year at the Bellevue Berry Farm (which was home for the Nebraska Renaissance Faire from 2008-2014).

Some Omaha-area festival history:

Old timers will remember when Council Bluffs (just across the river from Omaha) hosted the long-running Renaissance Faire of the Midlands. After it went away, the Nebraska Renaissance Faire started in Ashland, NE began in 2002.

After two years, NebFaire moved to Omaha and was located on the property of Scary Acres (a large annual Halloween haunted house location, likely chosen because it had plenty of space and a castle facade).

When NebFaire moved to the Bellevue Berry Farm (also home to an annual Halloween event), Scary Acres began its own Midwest Renaissance Festival which only lasted a few years (2008-2010). Hopefully I have the end date correct on that one (I only attended it for those years).

Omaha has so-far failed to be able to sustain multiple Renaissance events for more than a few years, even when they were one-weekend events. Now that there are multiple pirate festivals and multiple Renaissance events, all running multiple weekends, I wonder how things will fare for 2016...

Stay tuned...
Friday, August 28, 2015 12:08PM
AtTheFaire icon 12:08 PM - Twitter: @atthefaire (posted by JohnPaul )
I guess I have never mentioned we have a Twitter account:

Friday, July 31, 2015 1:10PM
(default) icon 1:10 PM - Des Moines blog (not Ren related) (posted by JohnPaul )
I a just posting this so it gets indexed and pushed up in the Google indexes quicker... But if you are in the Des Moines area, or are in to bicycling, you are welcome to click.
Thursday, May 14, 2015 1:42PM
FestivalNews icon 1:42 PM - Midlands Pirate Fest May 30-31, 2015 - NEW LOCATION (posted by JohnPaul )

-News Release-
"Regional Festival Moves to New Waters"

The 8th annual Midlands Pirate Festival will be moving to a new location and a different season, this year. The ideally suited River City Star Landing (formerly Millers Landing) on the downtown Omaha/Missouri River water front will be the new host of the popular event. The up-coming Spring weekend of May 30th & 31st (from 11am to 6pm) will be the festival's new timeframe.

Festivals International's producer-director, Gregory Schmidt, will be turning the creative reins over to Omaha entrepreneur Steve Lindzy in order to enhance the activities and shows. Lindzy's 'Royale Pirates of Tortuga' kids show will be one of the featured stage acts. He will present this musical extravaganza on the lower level of the 4-deck Kon-Tiki-O party barge.

Some of the other professional touring acts to appear on the 5 entertainment stages will be the Bawdy Buccaneers from Des Moines, two different magician and illusion shows, the Pog-Mo-Thon pub band from Lincoln featuring Texas fiddler 'Lala', a showcase of some of the area's combined belly-dancing troupes, Capt. Johnson's Sideshow Circus, a presentation on famous women pirates and a variety of famous characters from nautical lore and Hollywood fantasy.

One of the most unique shows will be a "pirate" stand-up comedy routine by Omaha native Christina Marie Leonard, who will be flying in from doing television and film work in Hollywood.

Other aspects of this "family fun" fest will be the Blue Rose Mermaid in her lagoon pond, the Forking Queen of the Pirates with her kids street theater, plus children's lawn games with prizes.

Additional activities involve treasure hunts, tattoo contests for adults, costume contests for children and games of skill such as knife-tossing.
There will be a 'thieve's market' merchant bazaar with artisans and specialty crafters selling anything from custom-designed jewelry to swords and nautical souvenirs.

Also on hand will be a selection of foods and drink libations at the renowned Tiki Bar.

The public will be able to access the discounted rides on the River City Star Riverboat Cruise at 12-noon, 2:00 and 4:00 each day. These added attraction tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for military and kids under 13.
Admission to the Midlands Pirate Festival is $10 for adults and $5 for kids from 5 to 15 with tots free. There will be a half-price discount for active military personnel. Parking will be free.

All tickets will be purchased right at the entrance gate during festival hours - 11am to 6pm.

For location information see or call #402-342-7827. For event details go to or contact


Greg Schmidt
Tami Bader
Wednesday, April 29, 2015 8:09PM
FestivalNews icon 8:09 PM - Omaha, NE RenFest/PirateFest news (posted by JohnPaul )
Omaha, NE update ... First, the former location of the Nebraska Renaissance Faire (Bellevue Berry Farm) has decided to do their own Renaissance event this year (thus the change of name to Renaissance Festival of Nebraska). It has no connection with Neb Faire, but they did an agreement of some kind which is why Neb Faire has not relocated for this year. Neb Faire is supposed to return in a new location (location #4 for the event) in 2016.

Next, the Midlands Pirate Festival has moved to a new location as well -- River City Star Landing in Omaha -- on May 30-31, 2015. See for details. However, as of earlier today, the Bellevue Pumpkin Ranch website was listing Midlands Pirate Fest as happening there in September (the same weekend of pirate weekend for the Des Moines Renaissance Faire). They have not updated the website yet to reflect that it is not the Midlands Pirate Festival, but will be an entirely new event done by the ranch in conjunction with their other Fall activities (rolling right in to their huge Halloween event).

This gives Omaha a brand new Renaissance Faire, a new pirate event, and the return of the original pirate event in a new location all for 2015. Next year should see two Renaissance festivals and likely two pirate events, depending on how they both do.

Historically in our area, every time someone has tried to take over an event when it shut down or moved or changed dates, it has not worked out. When NebFaire moved from Scary Acres to the Ranch, Midwest Ren Fest was started up by Scary Acres. It only ran a few years. There was another event in Iowa that started up when the Iowa Ren Fest moved to the spring, and it too only lasted a few years. It's a tough market, so if you want to see more events, go to them all and support them.
Monday, March 30, 2015 8:27AM
FestivalNews icon 8:27 AM - Fire at Des Moines Renaissance Faire (posted by JohnPaul )
Des Moines TV station KCCI is reporting a small fire at the Des Moines Renaissance Faire site last night:

From the photos, the two buildings look to be Ye Old Pizzas, Off With Your Bread (soup in a bread bowl shop) and the Bavarian Cafe (larger red building, German food) at the start of the food court lane. The article says the damage is estimated at $10,000.
Wednesday, March 11, 2015 8:19AM
News icon 8:19 AM - Pirates of the Carribean 5 (posted by JohnPaul )
I have been out of the loop for years, and had no idea they had started shooting Pirates of the Caribbean part 5 until I read headlines of Johnny Depp hurting his hand on set.

I did not know about part 4 either until someone at the Des Moines Renaissance Faire (was it Captain Rick?) told me it was in the works.

The articles quote a release date of July 7, 2017.

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Festivals: Merchants: Performers: Everything Else:
  1. Des Moines Ren Faire (IA)
  2. Four Kingdoms Festival (IL)
  3. Hamlet of Mid Missouri (MO)
  4. Iowa Ren Festival (IA)
  5. Nebraska Ren Faire (NE)
  6. Greater Quad Cities Ren Faire (IL)
  7. Wild West "Family Fun" Fest (IA)

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Permanent festivals in our area: Kansas City Renaissance Festival, Bristol Renaissance Faire, Des Moines Renaissance Faire and Minnesota Renaissance Festival.
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