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Festival brings vikings to park

17th annual Renaissance Festival is this weekend

17th annual Renaissance Festival is this weekend

June 08, 2006|by KRISTIN WILSON

Medieval viking traditions such as combat archery, fencing, weaving and bead making will be performed by hundreds of re-enactors Saturday, June 10, transforming Hagerstown's City Park into a virtual Middle Ages fair.

Members of the Western Maryland chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism are getting ready for the 17th annual Renaissance Festival taking place on the grounds surrounding the Jonathan Hager House and Museum.

For the first time the annual festival will be themed, says Heather White, president of the Western Maryland chapter, Barony of Highland Foorde. The re-enactment group will focus Saturday's festivities on viking culture within the time period before A.D. 1000.

Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism research and re-create cultures and skills of people living all over Europe, the Middle East and Asia between the years A.D. 500 and A.D. 1600. Usually, re-enactment events are a mix of characters from this time, but the group has decided to focus on a particular period and culture - viking culture before A.D. 1000, White says.

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Picking a theme "kind of gives a cohesion to the event," White says. The change "has really energized and inspired everyone."

Unlike events such as the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire or the Maryland Renaissance Festival, this weekend's event is not put on to entertain the public, White says.

The public is invited to attend and watch Saturday's events, but the festival is held for members of the Society for Creative Anachronism. The international organization hosts events, tournaments, dances and workshops so that members can learn more about the ancient world and practice their personae as people who lived in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period, White explains.

Still, the weekend is a great opportunity to see Middle Ages viking culture in action, she says. There will be archery, fighting and fencing tournaments, and displays and demonstrations of crafts. Merchants will sell medieval tableware, fabric and pottery.

Between 200 and 500 Society for Creative Anachronism members participate in the annual Renaissance Festival in Hagerstown, White says. All participants will be dressed in period costumes. "You will see the garb, the clothing, which is natural fabrics, linens, wools, cottons. It's usually a layered look" in the viking tradition, White says.

All combat or fighting tournaments also will be done in the style of viking tradition. "The fighters are attired in armor, and they use rattan weapons that they are trained to use," White says.

The Jonathan Hager House and Museum will be open for tours during the festival. There is a fee to tour the museum.




If you go ...



WHAT: 17th annual Renaissance Festival

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 10

WHERE: Grounds of City Park and Jonathan Hager House and Museum, Hagers-town

COST: Free

MORE: For more information, call 301-739-8393.

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