View Full Version : My Medieval Fair Journey or What Happens To Old Swords

05-01-2011, 12:53 PM
So I spent the last two days at Gumeracha for the Medieval Fair that was occurring there and has been for the last five years. This was my second year and I had fun as always-the group I'm with is quite interesting. (I'm unofficially part of a group called New Varangian Guard, which includes Vikings, Byzantines, Franks and Normans. We're a very eclectic Viking bunch mostly. I say unofficially because I don't attend all the meetings, but I do try and come to some of the events and help demonstrate)

Some highlights from this year included:

-This year I marched with the parade, which was quite interesting in itself, as there was quite an eclectic bunch, comprising of NVG, SCA, Border Celts (a dance group who do more military dancing compared to competitive dance), Blue Company (Nyoibo's group), a group of Irish Dancers and one of the guilds (the Timber Framers) marched! However, during the Aboriginal ceremony (at most, if not all formal events, a representative will welcome and acknowledge the existence of the Aboriginal folk who lived on the land that we're on now), which was quite different to what I expected, someone started playing music. Quite irritating, not to mention rude. (on a sidenote, I'm surprised that the Aboriginal Elder was able to do his ceremony in a loincloth only, as I was FREEZING!)

-Someone put on a Punch and Judy show in the Children's area located on the other side of the creek on which our camp was set. One of the shows ran during clean-up duty for me and someone else, but a few other members were at one of the tables enjoying themselves. We could hear the performance sort of clearly where we were and the kids screaming "OH YES YOU DID!" or "MR. PUNCH!" At one point however, I'm cleaning with another member and we just hear this "OH YES YOU DID!" just BOOMING out from some of our members who were sitting at the table and watching the show. :lol:

-In addition, we could hear the commentary for some of the bouts. Our group has two commentators, who also act as safety marshalls on the field should something go wrong. One of them was commentating today and proved to be quite a smartass :p (shouting things like "So-and-so the pin cushion!" and so on). In addition, when Blue Company were up, THEIR commentator proved to be a smartass as well.

-Nyoibo unfortunately BROKE his sword during one of the bouts before we were due to go on. I didn't see it, but the sword lay in two pieces. Apparaently said sword hit the metal boss on the shields that they use and broke. (we could hear the king referring to now selling a "Secondhand sword") I have pictures of this I might add. In addition, his king wound up being sold for slavery by his wife! Was quite funny seeing him be paraded around in chains. He didn't get sold, although the group contemplated 25c.

-The weather....not so great. It was BUCKETING a few times during the fair, which made things slippery as hell. With that in mind, we had to be a bit unauthentic around the fair and if it was possible, we had to settle for non-authentic footwear (those who had thicker shoes got along OK, those like ME, had to settle for sneakers the second day running) for some of us around the campsite and especially on the field for safety reasons, something our smartass commentators didn't hesitate to point out :p

-During the night, there was a lot of alcohol and fire twirling going on around one of the merchant tents, with the merchant in question being a friend of ours. It resulted in my boyfriend having a shot (at the twirling) and getting quite sooty, and some beer being stolen repeatedly-and then recovered. One of our somewhat drunk members kept wandering off to random campsites as well and returned the next day, not so much hungover, but quite dazed. (Some of the guys who are part of our group stay with one of the other groups due to lack of space)

-I was pleased to watch the Border Celts this year. APparaently they hate our group (Nyoibo would you happen to know why? :p) but I still watched them. VERY interesting group. They do a style of dance known as Pictish Dancing which is similar to Morris Dancing and Highland Dancing (they describe it as "training for war with swords"). It was quite amusing to watch them. Some of their kids also joined in, which was quite cute to see them doing one of the dances. :p
In addition, they also had two of their members doing Broadsword dancing, which involved jumping over four broadswords laid in a cross fashion. Was quite amusing to watch.

-We had quite a number of jokes flying around the group relating to drinking horns (i.e. are you horny? Would you like to wash our horn etc.?) and spears. Surprisingly, the mother who had an 8-year-old son in the group didn't seem to mind the innuendo when her son was around. :lol: (we did cut down some of the swearing though, but the kid received some lessons in cooking, fire-starting and even a small sword lesson, although we had to teach him to not put metal swords and arrowheads into the ground for safety reasons-although we don't do archery in our group, we still want the arrows on display)

-A lot of the people passing by found our display quite entertaining. As we demonstrate crafts as well as combat, we also have a "try on the sword" display, where you can try the swords and shields out. One little 6-year-old enjoyed my little spiel. :p And a mother-daughter combo wound up coming back twice for photos with the shields!

-One of the food carts was selling really nice hotdogs and all that, with them advertising "Beeroot" instead of beetroot.

-The poor SCA guys had a bit of stiff competition during some of their bouts, with a group of bellydancers doing THEIR thing right next door! (they did it inside on account of the weather, but they do some really damn good stuff)

-One of the artists tents was playing quite loud music last night that could be heard over in our tent. Of all the songs they had to put on there? The Lumberjack song. :lol: Sadly, that resulted in some noise complaints from one of the houses nearby.

-There were some live animals being held in one of the groups near us. My first quip was "Hooray, live sacrifices!" followed by "Where's the beef?" when I got woken up by this loud moo coming from nearby. :D

And that sums up some of the highlights from this year. Did I miss anything?

ETA: Yes I'm aware it's long. Shut up :p

05-02-2011, 04:51 PM
Turns out I DID miss something.

For safety reasons, our group will NOT allow people to fight without cricket boxes/cups/jockstraps (for the boys) or chest protectors (for the girls). We take safety very seriously.

During one of the bouts, one of the older fighters (I am not kidding, the guy is pushing 68, has one eye and can still wipe out a good chunk of the field) wound up losing his box mid-bout and had to sit out on the last two rounds due to said box falling down onto his knee (most of the guys wrap their legs from about mid-calf down during those bouts-one bonus is that it stops boxes from falling onto the ground). In addition, Nyoibo wound up SOMEHOW receiving a blow when he was kitting up :lol:

Also, I have pics of the Broken sword. :P

05-03-2011, 03:27 AM
I would love to have the pieces of that sword...to use as a lesson to others. *looking shifty*

05-03-2011, 07:12 AM
The sword shall live on, it shall be converted into 2 weapons.

05-03-2011, 07:25 AM
I would love to have the pieces of that sword...to use as a lesson to others. *looking shifty*

We have a dagger in our group as a reminder of that-one of the other members had a similar thing happen. The weapons were converted.

Also, you'd be amazed at how well you can make a Viking seax out of a dinner knife and some bone. :p (Viking seax=short knife that was used as your general all-purpose knife.)

One other thing I forgot to add was that one of the groups got booed upon entering the arena at the fair during the march this year. I THINK it was the Border Celts but not sure.