DAVENPORT — After historic flooding swamped the Quad-Cities this year, Gregory Schmidt looked at dozens of alternative locations to hold the fourth Quad Cities Renaissance Faire.
Credit Island Park last year served as its third home, and after Schmidt received assurances from city officials that it would be usable this month, he announced the 450-acre park will again host the event Sept. 21 and 22, near the park's lodge.
“We wanted to keep working with Davenport; we had Centennial Park as a backup,” Schmidt, Renaissance Faire owner, said Tuesday. “We found a real cool place at Centennial Park, with nice gazebos, but the city didn't want horses tearing up the park.”
“We can make Credit Island work. We can work from what the grounds were a month ago,” he said. “It's so big, it's just ideal. There's a great group, Friends of Credit Island. The city is good to work with; we definitely want to stay at Credit Island.”
After record Mississippi River flooding this spring, Davenport announced in June that Credit Island Park would be closed for the foreseeable future. But it has now been cleaned up well enough to serve as home to the Renaissance Faire, which debuted in 2015 at Orion's Hillcrest Event Center, then was held at Illiniwek Forest Preserve in Hampton in 2017, and at Credit Island in 2018.
Even with drizzly rain falling last year, the two-day event attracted 1,500, Schmidt said.
“The only downside is the lodge itself, which is really cool walking into,” Schmidt said. “There was 5 to 6 inches of crusted mud on the floor. They were putting out bids to clean it.” He said he wasn't sure if the lodge would be usable in time for Renaissance Faire.
Electricity on the island is working, Schmidt noted.
This will be the first time that horseback jousting will be seen in Davenport, although the event had it when it was at Iliniwek, he said.
Management of the event is being handled by Mike Amos of Midwest Festivals.
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Along with the Joust Evolution tournament spectacle, there will be three stages of acts running on both days. Some of the headliners will be the Shattock Schoole of Defense comedy swordplay show from Iowa City, the musical group Orckes & Trolles from Des Moines, Jesters4Hire from Wichita with magic and puppetry, Molotov Stoopid Human Tricks from Chicagoland, and Bobert the Great from Davenport. Various other comedy and theatrical acts or solo performers will be on hand as well.
A Davenport couple will be united in a real Renaissance-themed wedding ceremony on Saturday, Schmidt said.
Covering the expansive festival grounds will be two living-history encampment troupes presenting outdoor "museums" — Olskipan Vikings and Warwick from Des Moines. Also, the Scottish Highland games demonstration group Clan McSwade will be present.
Special activities will be available for children. A variety of skill challenges will be offered to adults, ranging from ax tossing to archery and fencing.
The centerpiece of the royal-themed faire will be the artisans' merchant market, selling and demonstrating specialized goods that usually can only be found at a Renaissance-themed event.
The food court will offer turkey legs, full meals, novelty treats, and beer and wine.
The Q-C Renaissance Faire village will be open both days from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and guests can see about 200 costumed re-enactors.
Admission will be $12 for adults or $18 for a two-day pass. Admission will be $6 for kids ages 5 to 15, and free for those younger than 5. A $2-off discount will be offered to all military personnel with an active-duty ID. Parking will be free.
To get tickets and more information, visit quadcitiesrenfaire.com or call 641-583-2209.