Medieval Faire strikes bull’s-eye

PORT GAMBLE — “Salute to the crown of An Tir!”

“Salute your inspiration!”

“Salute your most worthy opponent!”

“Upon your honor and the marshal’s command, you may begin — play on!”

And thus those participating in the 2004 Medieval Faire’s combative events, rapier and armored fighting, worked their way through the tournament erics on the hill in Port Gamble last weekend.

Donning helmets and armor and bearing shields and swords, the combatants fought their way toward championship titles, much like their predecessors did during the Middle Ages.

The members of the Society for Creative Anachronism were reenacting just one of many facets of the Middle Ages while educating the public about how Europeans lived between 600 to 1650 A.D. Festival attendees also had a chance to witness period arts, cooking, sporting and, well, how to fight a knight.

“Wielding a sword is keen,” said 13-year-old Jareth Utter of Everett, also known as Cavan in the SCA group. He was awaiting his turn at the youth eric to battle with his “most worthy opponent.”

“Beating the bloody daylights out of anyone is fun,” added 16-year-old Nick Pearson of Seattle, also known as warrior Crinin Gunnarsun within the community.

Pearson, Utter and their friends claimed that Japanese Anime, the game Dungeons & Dragons, video games and “beautiful women” attract them to the medieval lifestyle.

“The fact you can spin a staff and not be called freak,” was another reason, added Kevin Spaulding, 14, of Shelton, also known as Strag. He then whipped out a long wooden stick and spun it quickly around his body as his blue cloak danced in movement.

Others in attendance said they believe that the honor and chivalry of the time period is important to recognize, especially in today’s world. Lisa Bundrick, who was in charge of the Pied Piper area for children, said she recently rejoined the group after a decade’s hiatus.

“I really think the kids learn from it — like respect and honor and respecting their elders,” she said. “Here, there is no TV, no video games, no MTV.”

Those who aren’t associated with the group were just as fascinated by the SCA’s effort to recreate the times. Greg MacPherson of Briar brought his family to witness what he had been hearing about for years. A wholesaler who often sells leather to SCA members for their medieval garb, MacPherson finally got a chance to see what it was all about. The MacPherson family even borrowed clothes from the Gold Key — a trade-in site for Medieval garb — to dress up themselves.

“If you’re going to have some fun, have some fun,” MacPherson said.

“The people just have such a passion, we can see people are really into this,” added his wife Cherri.

Greg MacPherson said he was impressed by the fact that everyone makes their own medieval clothing.

“I find that fascinating,” he said. “It’s all handmade.”

The MacPherson’s were viewing the archery and thrown weaponry field as both men and women, young and old, tried to hit their targets — a bull’s-eye or bales of hay — using bow and arrows, spears and knives.

Before attending last year’s Medieval Faire, Heidi Draper said she never would have imagined being dressed up in a medieval dress and throwing a spear at a bale of hay. Now, as a SCA member, part of the welcoming committee, she is completely into the atmosphere.

“I just came on a fluke (last year) and fell in love with the pageantry,” said Draper, whose name within the SCA is Katerina. She noted that she just started throwing spears and finds great satisfaction in hitting her target.

“I just recently got the hang of it,” Draper said. “I’ve always like sharp-point things. It’s very satisfying to hear the thunk.”

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