Fair maidens and honorable knights may find an appropriate home in central Iowa this weekend. Today (Saturday) marks the start of the Renaissance Faire at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines. Spokeswoman Lynne Melssen says it’s a three-day event that recreates a European royal pageant — and she plays the queen in the reinactment group. There’s full-contact jousting by a group that uses pine lances to knock each other off their horses. Other attractions include musicians, pirates, storytelling and magic. Melssen says local students will be competing in a catapult-building contest in addition to Shakespeare monologue competitions. The Salisbury Faire held its last renaissance festival in Des Moines in 2002. Melssen’s group, Festivals International, started the tradition in Des Moines a decade ago, then moved the event to the Amanas. After a year break, the fest is now back on in Iowa’s capitol, though the festival director has been forced to change the location. She says the first year the group held the event, they wanted to use Waterworks Park but couldn’t because it had flooded. That was 1993. Now, they have to again move the festival to the Iowa State Fairgrounds because of flooding. For more information, surf to “www.iowafestival.com” or call (515) 331-8211.
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