Monday, June 18, 2012

I Went to Olde English Faire, The Archers and Jousters Were There

I have been severely lacking in the event department so far this year. I think the only events I have gone to include The Festival of Maidens (January), the Candle-Lighting Ball (April) and, well, that is it. We had several other events that we were scheduled to attend but due to various circumstances had to change our plans quite at the last minute. So that is why I was so happy this weekend to be able to go to the Olde English Faire!

David and I left the children with my parents. I felt a bit guilty leaving them behind but I did offer all of them the chance to go with us. They all, of course, declared they would much rather go to Grandma and Grandpa's house and in the end, I was glad that they did since it was a very hot day and it would have been difficult keeping them all hydrated and in their woolen clothes. Plus it was nice to be able to walk hand in hand with David, just us two. Time alone so rarely happens for us and it was good to have some hours with him where we didn't have to continually focus on children asking a million questions an hour, or screaming and whacking at each other, or endlessly requesting to go potty.
The Faire seemed smaller this year but the quality seemed better. The location in the park was different than last year and was much easier to navigate. There were plenty of shade trees and benches and the merchants had a very nice area to set out their wares. There were some good quality vendors interspersed with the typical fantasty-clothing, belly-dancing, henna-tattoo vendors which made browsing interesting and fun.

There was also a tent where several chess sets were set up. David was happy to sit down and play a game with one of the gentleman.

The chess sets were handmade by this gentleman and a friend. It was nice to see this game set up as an alternative to the more carnival like games going on in a different area of the park.

We watched a jousting tournament, hosted by the guys from Full Metal Jousting! It was one of the most exciting parts of the afternoon and I got a bit carried away, cheering and screaming with a most un-ladylike demeanor as the champions battled it out in the arena. Seeing the men emerge on their horses, armour-clad, noble bearing, was swoon worthy. My goodness!

Prior to the tournament, each knight gave a yellow carnation to a random lady in the crowd, as a token that they would be fighting for her honor. The little girls who were chosen as the Ladies Fair were adorable to watch - I truly admire the generosity and kindness shown by these guys to their audience, especially to the children. For sure this will be something those little ones will never forget!

I stood on the hill to watch, in the hot blazing sun and consequently was sunburnt quite badly. David, since he is taller, sensibly stood in the shade of several trees farther up the hill. One of the trucks parked there housed two dogs and David promptly fell in love with them.

After the tournament, we went to the living history camp in a different park of the park. This group demonstrates various aspects of 14th century life and focuses on the skill of archery.

It was wonderful and inspiring to see a progressive group like this! One of the ladies I spoke with mentioned how that morning she assisted in plucking ducks that they later cooked and ate. I think David was impressed. Even 1860's groups typically do not go to that extent in their pursuit of authenticity.

This group is headquartered not far from our own hometown. It would be lovely to get involved some way, sometime. If only David liked the medieval period better! But maybe he will learn to. I will wait and in the meantime will try my best to convince him that wearing hose and braies are very manly and much more desirable than the 1860's cotton overalls he currently wears beneath his tunics.

The archers were skilled and swift. It actually grew a bit monotonous watching their arrows fly since they rarely missed the target! I liked watching them, watching how their clothes moved, how they acted and talked with each other, with the background of leafy trees and summer sunshine. It was easy to imagine that we really had found a way to travel back to the 14th century.

Now I am all inspired to work on our wardrobes for the next medieval event, The Fields of Cloth and Gold which will be in September. It is not that far away and I think both David and Judah could use a new outfit before then, and, of course, the baby will need a full supply of shirts and caps and some sort of gown - I do not think I could, with mental comfort, wrap her up in strips of linen - and I'd like to make David a new hood and a hood or heavier woolen veil for me as well.

I was thankful my pink linen gown still fit for this past weekend. The only part that was a bit tight was the bustline, but I just laced it a bit more loosely there and all was well. I apologize for not wearing a proper gown underneath it in these pictures, but it was just so hot and I thought that I could get by wearing just my smock underneath. A few images do support the wearing of a smock underneath a short sleeved outer gown, although I think the images date from a bit past the late 1300's. Here we are at 32 weeks!

The only new thing I made for the event was a veil and circlet, roughly basing it on the instructions here: Silk Wrapped Circlet. I put my version together the afternoon before the event and used some heavy wire for the base. I wrapped it in tan silk thread although the wrapping was not as tight or closely packed as I would have wished it to be.

It took so long to wrap the wire I didn't feel like wrapping the thinner wire that I wound around the base, so I left it plain. I put a few black beads on the front (wood; so not a great material choice but hey, its what I had) and made a quick veil out of a long rectangle of sheer silk that I hemmed all around and stitched to the circlet to secure it.

I did get a lot of positive comments on the veil. So many people wondered how I could possibly keep the veil from slipping off and they were delighted to find out I had stitched it on. It does make so much sense to just saw the darned slippery thing to the circlet. Why had I never thought of that? A huge thank you to the documentation from the Silk Wrapped Circlet site! I also got a lot of nice compliments on how well the pregnant belly looks "so medieval" and I was called Maid Marion more times than I ever imagined. I don't know if a true maid of the period would go around unapologetically pregnant but I will bypass any historical deviations of the term and circumstances since the people who spoke thus to me were modern spectators and likely were just trying to link what knowledge they have of the period to what they were seeing in front of them.

All in all it was a very satisfactory event. Many people still lament the fact that the Faire no longer takes places at Jubilee but I am grateful that even though the state has made it impossible for the Faire to continue there, Wildlife Prairie Park has wholeheartedly welcomed the Faire to its own grounds. I'm glad it still can live on. It would be a huge shame to have it go by the wayside. It has become such a summer ritual in this part of the state for so many people.



  1. The braid and veil hairstyle is really becoming on you! How nice for the two of you to have a date, too :)

  2. it all looks fabulous. the hairstyle is perfect.

  3. You look glorious! Lovely job on the veil.

  4. Oh oh, so wonderful! You look stunning as well.

  5. You look gorgeous!!! I can't wait to see your little girl in costume :D


Thank you for your lovely thoughts!