The Great Plains Renaissance Festival Website Overhaul!

IMG_1835Hi, you probably don’t know me, but I’m the guy who’s behind the scenes, updating the Great Plains Renaissance Festival website, and have been since mid-2009. The site it’s self started way back in 2001 (or, at least that’s as far back as The Internet Archive’s WayBack machine goes – I remember going to the Ren Fests way back when, even the Newman Renaissance Festival back when it was still at thing, but I don’t remember much about the site back then.)

It’s fun to see how things have evolved in the last 15 years of the faire – so, before it gets released in it’s newest incarnation, I thought I’d show just how far it’s come! All the images on here come from The Internet Wayback Machine, part of The Internet Archive. (If you think that Wikipedia is the repository for all human knowledge, consider that Wikipedia is one of the many things that have been indexed and archived by The Internet Archive!  Heck, stop by there and look at the first entry for Wikipedia archive, touting a whopping 8,000 article!  Wikipedia, at the time I write this, has over 4 million articles written in English, and over 35 million pages total.)  The only downside to using The Internet Archive is that sometimes it doesn’t manage to download a copy of all the images involved, so not all of it loaded for the the images I took :-/

One of the interesting landmarks in the while process is the 2009 version of the site – it’s the first time that online tickets were available.  I believe it was 2010 when we implemented online registration and payment for vendor booth spaces.

So what’s new with this update?

  • Email Updates
  • Faster Loading
  • Better Galleries (everywhere)
  • Easier Ticket Purchasing
  • Easier Vendor Signup
  • Better Menu Structure – find what you want easily
  • Better FAQ system
  • Modern Stylization
  • Better Mobile Optimization
  • Inclusion of better signup system
  • Wichita Highland Games Information
  • Better URL structure
  • Easier to find Advanced Ticket Locations (For those who don’t buy online)
  • Submit your own photos to be included in the galleries

Nearly every page of the site will have been touched in one way or another by the time I’m done with the revamp (along with generating quite a few new pages, and deleting some really old stuff that’s no longer needed.)  At the moment, we’re well over the 50% mark for the revamp.  Some example areas that still need hit:

  • Entertainers list (some of them are done, like Joust Evolution, but not many)
  • Schedule (won’t be updated until the Spring 2015 schedule is ready)
  • Cosplay Contest
  • Photo Contest
  • Videos
  • Wichita Highland Games Athletic Signup
  • Wichita Highland Games Clan Signup
  • Wichita Highland Games Athletic Page (shows what all the events are, for those who’ve never seen the games before!

When you’re at the faire, feel free to stop by and say Hi!  I’ve got my own little space at the faire – look for the Kansas Authors’ Pavilion on the West side of the faire (well, on Saturday, at least.  Part of Sunday I’ll be competing in the Wichita Highland Games, doing stuff like throwing weights and my favorite, the caber toss!)

Davis Ray Sickmon, Jr,

Midnight Ryder Technologies


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