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Middle Ages come alive at Hager House

October 05, 1997

By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Staff Writer

The Middle Ages made a rare appearance at the Hager House Saturday.

About 100 enthusiasts dressed in period costumes, clashed swords, and fired handmade arrows in archery competitions at the Society of Creative Anachronism's "Hunt and Feast in Honor of St. Sebastian" sponsored by the Shire of Highland Foorde (that's Frederick and Washington counties) in the Kingdom of Atlantia.

"I could be very happy living in the 1590s," said Lord Gregoire De Conteville, aka Greg S. Glewwe of Frederick, Md.

He said he used to go to five or more events a week - which are held across the country - but now only goes to one or two.

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Glewwe supervised the "duello" fighting, in which role players fought against each other to defend and attack a makeshift tower using soft arrows and fencing swords. The fighters wore heavy gloves and fencing masks while wearing several layers of protective clothing to guard against inadvertent stabbings.

Other competitions included "novelty" events, such as shooting arrows at hollow imitation ducks that explode on contact, and shooting stuffed bunnies and bears.

"We're shooting defenseless little stuffed animals," said Jerry Alexandratos of Frederick, with glee.

Beeswax, "the plastic of the Middle Ages," was on sale, in a ddition to a variety of honeys, swords, clothing and food.

About 85 people paid $9 each for the feast including smoked venison, smoked pork, smoked cheeses, smoked eggplant, and well, you get the picture.

"This is my weekend enjoyment," said honey retailer Mark Cassells of Frederick, who in real life operates a 20-megawatt heavy water research reactor for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Cassells said his hobby is a welcome break from work.

"It's as low-tech as I can get it," he said.

Lady Marsali Fox, whose real name is L.J. Smole of Frederick, said she's been an SCA member for 14 years.

Smole, who works in computer graphics, said she enjoys practicing the chivalric ideals espoused by the society.

"For a weekend we each get to spend time with people who share those ideals."

Society members spent much time kneeling and kissing each other's hands while attempting to speak with terms and accents appropriate to the time. Each member develops their own persona, including a particular name, country and time period.

"I try to live as they would have," said cook Damon Argent, aka Alan Feldman of Keedysville.

Lady Kofryna the Goatherd, aka Michelle de Tommaso, is the local shire's seneschal, or leader, when she's not working for the National Weather Service. The shire has about 35 members. The SCA is a worldwide organization that recreates the atmosphere of the time period from 600 to 1600, she said.

Lady Maryam Jules of the Dragon's Trench, aka Janice Wagoner of Hagerstown, maintains the group's web page at http://www.geocities.com/athens/acropolis/7090.

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