Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend Fun and Games

This weekend was the 2nd annual Medieval Festival at Upper Canada Village. It was a four day event. Thursday and Friday the Festival was open to all the schools in the area and all accounts say they were packed both days. As I understand it the interpreters all did a great job giving historical accounts and demonstrations of jousting, sword fighting, archery, and more.

Saturday was our day to attend the festival. We got there early, thankfully, and were fifth or sixth in line to get our tickets. We went ahead and purchased annual tickets to the Village so that we could not only see the festival but so we could come back several more times through the Summer to see Village life progress through the year.

The festival was set up in an open field behind Louck's Farm, hidden by rows of trees and the farm buildings. I was surprised to find that unless you knew the festival was going on the only indication within the village itself was the occasional visitors who were dressed in the style of their choice. In all honesty they didn't really stand out that much from the 1800's style unless they were dressed as noble people or the older styles of the Celts and Vikings.

Once we reached Louck's Farm we followed a small wagon road up and around to the gates of the festival proper, where we were met by Queen Elenore and her daughter Matilda. They officially opened the gates and welcomed all early comers to the grounds. Through the gates we found the Jousting Ring, the Birds of Prey display, the Viking Encampment, a Medieval Bowyer & Arrowsmith display, and the food and souvenir vendors.

Across a wooden bridge and into the old hay field we found the "Gypsy Encampment" which was the home of several vendors, with everything historical and fantasy that a person could desire, The Ottawa Medieval Sword Guild, the Ottawa Lacemakers Guild, The Knights of Valour camp, the Farakan Belly Dancers, the Archery Demonstration Field, South Tower Armoury, and of course the centre stage for all the various events.

My favourites were the Lacemakers, who were making some lovely laces, and the Bower who was more than willing to answer all my silly questions. The lacemakers because of the obvious... its another fibre art I don't know how to do and could see myself learning. I definitely have something in my blood for learning ancient fibre crafts.

I liked the bower, Robin C Van Acker of Chatham Ontario, because not only was he willing to answer all my questions he was congenial and didn't have any problem with the fact that a woman was asking all the wood working questions. I did find it interesting that everyone just looked and didn't actually interact with him until I started asking my questions. I guess they realized he was more than happy to share his information, show them his techniques to a point, and answer any question put to him both modern and historical. He was also very knowledgeable which was great too.

All in all a wonderful day, even if I did get sunburnt.

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