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Medieval re-enactors banned

May 11, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

The Society for Creative Anachronism has to relocate.

The mock Medieval warriors who practice their 700-year-old fighting skills at Red Run Park were told by the Washington Township Supervisors this week that they have to move out.

The society's re-enactments are too violent for a small community park where people picnic and children play, the supervisors said.

Red Run Park, named after the stream that runs through it, covers 22 acres on Pa. 16 east of Waynesboro. It was built in the 1930s, said Jerry Zeigler, township zoning enforcement officer.

Douglas Rice of St. Thomas, Pa., spokesman for the society's local chapter, said Friday that members don Medieval armor and engage in mock combat in their practice sessions.

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"We practice a stylized form of Medieval combat," he said.

The local chapter has about 25 members, he said.

The supervisors agreed to let the society use the township's Pine Hill Park off Mentzer Gap Road for its practice sessions.

Rice said that while the society appreciates the township's offer, it prefers to practice in places where the participants can be seen.

"Red Run Park is better because it has more foot traffic," Rice said. "More people go there and we can use it as recruiting tool to get more members."

"They use wooden swords, but some people think they're hazardous," Zeigler said. "The supervisors feel that it is not an appropriate use of the park.

"They're in a Catch 22 situation," Zeigler said of the re-enactors. "They need exposure to get new members, but they aren't wanted in places where they can be exposed."

In another matter concerning Red Run Park, the supervisors toughened the ordinance that bans drinking alcohol, being drunk or using illegal drugs in the park.

It is illegal to possess alcohol or illegal drugs in the park. The amendment gives township employees appointed by the supervisors authority to inspect coolers, backpacks and packages brought to the park by patrons.

Violators can be ordered to leave or be subject to a citation, Zeigler said.

Township police officers will also enforce the rules, Zeigler said.

The township wants the right to control things during big events at the park such as a popular annual country music concert that draws thousands of patrons.

"We won't be searching people's coolers without a valid reason," Zeigler said. "We're doing this to protect the township residents who use the park."

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