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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Knights, fire-eaters, jousters, tricksters, maidens and wenches at the Oxford Renaissance Festival

   One-Tank Trip for June 8/13

   (c) By Jim Fox

   “Huzzah” (hooray), verily we thinks thou lads and lassies will find the Oxford Renaissance Festival to be wondrous well.
   Join knights, fire-eaters, jousters, tricksters, fair maidens – and even wenches – June 14 to 16 at the Woodstock Fairgrounds.
   Visitors will be immersed in the days of yore, its lingo and characters from the medieval and Renaissance periods.
   Attendees are urged to join the fun by dressing in costume and talking like they belong back then.

   Shedding today’s selves
   The festival offers visitors the “chance to shed their modern selves and adopt a persona from ye days of olde,” said director Greg Schuurman.
   It brings the legends of knights and wenches to life through comedy, fire-eating acts, magic shows, jousting with horses and Celtic music and ale, along with authentic Renaissance foods and family entertainment.
   “If you are thinking ‘dry history’ or ‘accuracy,’ don’t be concerned as there will be none of that,” Schuurman said.
   The festival was created with family and comedy in mind, such as in the movies Knights Tale and Monty Python’s Holy Grail, he added.
   Some 5,000 people, from the nobility to commoners alike, are expected to attend throughout the weekend.

   Valour, bravery, chivalry
   The Knights of Valour, a full-contact jousting troupe, puts on an exciting show of horsemanship, bravery and chivalry featuring Shane Adams of History Channel’s Full Metal Jousting.
   It revives the extreme sport with two knights in armour charging to knock each other off their steeds.
   The Splatter Time Mud Show is where James and Lickity splash their way in a knee-deep mud fest fit for a king.
   A “less-grimy” comedy option is Men in Tights that retells fairy tales and Shakespeare with a bit of a twist.
   Illuminair Entertainment presents cutting-edge fire and aerial acts that “stretch the boundaries of circus performances.”
   It has Zoltan the Adequate and his fire-eating, sword-swallowing and other side-show acts along with hilarious commentary.
   Re-enactments include birds of prey swooping down at a target and learning about Renaissance hunting with Dale Gienow of Chivalric Productions.
Medieval battles feature knights in armour
   In medieval battle, the Knights of Blackthorn duel one another wearing suits of armour.
   Stone Clover provides the sound track for “whiskey and pints” through personal renditions of traditional Irish music.
   There will be the sounds of Eastern-inspired bagpipe music and the belly dancers’ entertainment with Cu Dubh.
   Visitors can sing along to traditional music in the Boar’s Head Pub with Nero’s Fiddle and hear Victoria Gydov, a classically trained soprano, as well as the whimsical ukulele music of JoJo Worthington.

   Dunk, catapult and duel
   Interactive games include Dunk-a-Wench and the Castle Siege catapult target game.
   There’s also the padded Gladiator Arena where participants duel with helmets and lances, and some 35 vendor booths with jewelry, costumes, swords, armour, leather work, trinkets and souvenirs.
   On tap are mugs of festival “Mead of Honour” honey beer and ales on tap in the pub’s beer tent.
   Chow down on dinosaur ribs, roasted turkey legs and giant pickles on a stick or more modern grub from local restaurants.
   On the grounds, strike up a chat with wandering actors portraying historical figures such as Leonardo DaVinci and Queen Elizabeth.

Knights in battle armour will be jousting on horseback at the Oxford Renaissance Festival.
   Need to know
   The festival at the Woodstock Fairgrounds, 875 Nellis St., opens with pub night June 14 from 6:30 p.m. to midnight. Hours on June 15 and 16 are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (followed by pub nights until 10:30 p.m.).
   Tickets at the gate are $22 plus tax; $17, seniors; $14, children, five to 12; $55, family pass; $33, two-day pass; $18.95 for fathers on Father’s Day. Discounts available online. oxfordrenfest.ca; tourismoxford.ca; (519) 532-2211

   Quilts galore
   Out of Africa 2013 is the London International Quilt Festival’s theme, June 12 to 15, at the Hilton Hotel (300 King St.)
This quilt called Mask

   There will be about 200 quilts from Africa along with 10 pieces from the tent-makers of Cairo that are “amazing works of art reflecting the culture and spirit of the countries,” said publicist Garnet Smalley.
   The show offers quilting classes with African teachers and a lecture on African fabrics, as well as a vendors’ mall with sewing machines and sergers.
   Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. next Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday. A daily pass (online) is $8. londoninternationalquiltfestival.com; (519) 639-9473


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com
For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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