In years past, when there were several small one-weekend or even one-day renaissance faires in Iowa, Jay & I would go to them and relax though often it was more about seeing friends and catching up on things than the faire itself. By around 2006 many of those faires had disappeared. Some, like Salisbury, had served their purpose (raising money for Salisbury House) or the organizers had moved out of state, or it simply wasn't economically feasible. As the economy was, for me, already in something of downswing by 2007, our faire trips were reduced to pretty much just the Siouxland Renaissance Festival. More recently, my having a couple jobs, one at night, made things awkward for more than once or twice a year and the economics hadn't really improved.
I missed, and still miss, the little Iowa faires. With one job going full time (at last!) and hopefully no need to have the second one, save on a contingency basis ("Hey, can you cover for a couple hours...?") possibilities look to be opening up again. But now there's not much of any place to go. Not Iowa, but the Chippewa Valley Renaissance Faire is now also gone. From an outsider's view it looked like a pretty good thing, but evidently there was something screwy going on, so it does not exist this year. Of next year, I have no idea.
Sure, there is the Des Moines Faire, but that isn't one of the little ones in my mind. And though it might be worth another try, I don't recall being all that impressed with it. Perhaps it's because I know just a bit of what went into making that particular sausage. Amana Colonies? As far as I am concerned it was over when the last event there was rained out and the organizer moved out of state. The organizer of a previous event there has one in the Spring (already passed) that utterly fails to interest me. That pretty much leaves just Sioux City Riverssance which I rather like. Oh, there is also the Minnesota Renaissance Faire, but we stopped going to that years ago as it didn't feel right. It felt like paying to walk around a mall. I might go back for a day this Summer, just to see, but I will have low expectations, save for a few acts.
Riverssance is the first weekend in October, which is also the weekend of the Big Island Rendezvous in Albert Lea. I haven't been to that event in some years either, though some of that was because I was at Riverssance when I could be. Big Island is something I can do as a one day thing, as Albert Lea only an hour or so away. Given the choice, I'll go to Riverssance again (It's sort of like Siouxland in my view, and that's about as a good a recommendation as you're likely to hear), though it does mean greater travel (and also hotel) expense involved.