Prepare thyself for festivities as knights, jesters, jugglers and Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth descend upon the village of Harveysburg for the annual Ohio Renaissance Festival.
Starting Sept. 2, people will come from near and far to experience a jump back in time to an era of art, diplomacy and jousting.
“You get to interject yourself at a moment when it’s probably the best of what that time period had to offer,” Michele Clouse, an associate professor and director of undergraduate studies at Ohio University, said.
What: Ohio Renaissance Festival
When: Weekends from Sept. 2 to Oct. 29
Where: Harveysburg, OH
Admission: $22.50 for ages 13 and above
$9.50 for children under 12
$20.50 for senior citizens
The elaborate village setting includes shops featuring cloaks and capes, costume pieces, artwork, trinkets and weapons. Stages scattered around the fairgrounds provide entertainment from acts such as Robin Hood and Maid Marian, The Swordsmen and, as seen on "America’s Got Talent," the Kamikaze Fireflies.
This remnant of the middle ages, however, holds a few anachronisms within it. Modern tools and materials create easier ways of making garments and weapons today, altering the way in which they are made, and can therefore alter the accuracy of a recreated item.
Nathan Arnold and Ashley McLean, members of OU Medieval Society, appeared at Sunday’s involvement fair to welcome potential students to their organization. Their table displayed items such as silver coins and site tokens, painted manuscripts, a knight’s helm and a handmade renaissance traditional wedding dress. However, they both admitted not all of the items were 100 percent accurate.
“What we do is historical and we try to recreate it as best as possible,” McLean, a senior studying mechanical engineering, said. “You do the best you can with what you have.”
The coins held in a small bowl were all aluminum, an element that was not discovered until the 19th century. In the medieval era, coins were made of precious elements such as gold or silver to physically represent worth, Arnold said. Currency at the renaissance festival, however, is the same as today, cash or credit. A knight's armor, as well, evolved from using iron to steel, a much stronger metal, and leather vests and chainmail soon became full plate armor.
That’s not to say that all changes to traditional renaissance items take away from the experience.
Festival-goers can experience the reality of a knight clad in full plate armor at an event that draws one of the biggest crowds, the Full Armored Joust. Put on by the Knights of Valour, these male and female entertainers take part in the sport of extreme jousting.
Shane Adams, leader of the Knights of Valour, has 25 years of experience in the sport. Growing up in Canada, he was used as the "test dummy" and learned along the way how to develop his armor to stay safe, he said,
"(The armor has) been made safer primarily because it is made of stainless steel," Adams said. "We also have protective padding underneath."
During the joust, if a knight is hit dead on with a lance, he or she can be on the receiving end of 1,400 to 1,800 pounds of force, Adams said. No longer are knights filling their helms with horse hair or straw, but with high-impact foam similar to football and kickboxing helmets.
Beyond the specifics of the era, the festival presents a rare element of the renaissance that promoted trade and community, Clouse said.
"It was a very special moment that happened occasionally. But I think the modern renaissance festival has that feel, that everybody has a place and everybody can belong and everybody can partake and share," Clouse said.