On Saturday, October 20, Van Horne Park will be transformed, and transported back in time. Courtesy of the Incipient Shire of Aeriesgarde and the Cranbrook History Centre, the first annual Medieval Faire and Feast will take place.
The Incipient Shire is an officially recognized local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism Inc. (SCA) which is an international non profit devoted to bring the Middle Ages and Renaissance to life through research and re-enactment. They have over 300,00 members around the world, making them one of the largest living history societies in the world.
Chelsea McDonald, known as Lady Thisbe LaBlanchette in the society, is their public relations officer or “Chatelaine.” She told the Cranbrook Townsman a little bit about the society and the upcoming festivities. She said the Cranbrook and Kimberley group formed in 1999, and was previously known as the Cranbrook Medieval Club. That group never went fully incipient, which they are now. Now as the Shire of Aeriesgarde, they are incipient but are still underneath the jurisdiction of the Barony of Montengarde … which you may know as Calgary.
LaBlanchette has been with the local group for five years, and it has been actively run through the SCA with their current council for the past three.
Saturday’s event has been in the works for over a year.
“Setting a date took some time,” LaBlanchette explained. “Just because there’s a lot going on for the SCA it’s like a big event season and you definitely don’t want to set anything when there’s a lot of other things happening.”
Though the Shire holds regular activities — such as miniature demos, tavern nights, culinary evenings the third Monday of every month — this will be a big demo for them.
“We have a lot of local activities but this is definitely a lot larger scale. It’s supposed to be sort of a showcase about all the things that we do and all the things that we can do.”
Compared to the Kimberley Medieval Festival, LaBlanchette says this one will be not as grand an affair, because they have numerous vendors and more of a business side to it, whereas this event will be more of a showcase.
The daytime programming for the event begins with a free demonstration from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This will feature rapier and armoured fighting, artisans and performers, children’s activities, medieval board games, dancing and viking tug-o’-war.
“And then we have a different station that’s going to be the arts and science station. So that station is just going to show all the crafts and handiwork that people have been doing, anything from metal working to fibre arts, any of the researching things that people have been working on are going to go on display there, as well as information about the SCA and our local group and how to get in touch with us.”
The armoured fighting is full force, heavy armoured combat whereas the rapier is more akin to fencing. However, fencing is conducted along a straight line while rapier allows more movement.
The dinner will be a full-blown medieval feast; roast meat and vegetable as well as plenty of fabulous baking. Afterwards, there is a cocktail hour, dancing where the dance instructor will be present once more teaching group medieval dances, and then a casual dancing hour later. The feast and dance component costs $60 per ticket, but there is a $20 option that allows people to come at 9:00 just for the dance.
The purpose of this demo is awareness, letting people know what they’re all about and hopefully recruiting new members. That’s how LaBlanchette first got involved.
“The reason that I joined is because I had a very dedicated friend who was 100 per cent sure that this is something that I’d love,” she said. “I went to one event and I was sold. I’ve gone to as many events as I could since, it’s just so much fun and it really fits all of the things that I was looking for in a hobby, because it encompasses so many hobbies in part of itself.
“You can fight, or you can create or you can just socialize, but what the biggest draw for me is personally, beyond the fun and the education is just the community. The community of the SCA is beautiful, it’s like it’s own family and I just find it to be so welcoming. No matter where I’m going it is always like I’m going home and I absolutely love that.”
For more information, including how to join the local chapter and learn about future events, visit www.sca.org.