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Getting medieval with dinner

November 06, 2007|By HANNAH TUSSING / Pulse Correspondent

Nobility from many regions gathered together at King Alphonso's court to celebrate his recent victory. A great feast and tournament was scheduled. Six brave knights would joust and compete in many other games to win the hand of lovely Princess Esperanza in marriage. There would be much joy, excitement, and great food.

Was this a strange dream I had? A novel I read? No, this really happened when my parents took me to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament in Arundel Mills mall near Baltimore.

The entrance to Medieval Times was inside the mall, but it had a castle look to it, with models of knights on horseback and huge stone lions guarding the entrance. All the workers, even the ticket takers and sellers, were dressed in costumes from the Middle Ages.

When we walked in, we were given paper crowns. The color of the crowns designated which knight was our champion. Ours were blue. Then, we were taken to the king and had our picture taken with him.

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We waited to be seated. We waited a long time before being seated, but it wasn't boring at all. There was plenty to do and look at. There were huge suits of armor in display cases, a gift shop, and, if you had a birthday or another special anniversary, the king would knight you with his sword.

The time flew by. I didn't even realize we had waited an hour until I looked at a watch. When we finally got inside the arena, colored lights showed which seats to sit in. With our blue crowns, we sat in the blue area. The seats were set up so that when you sat in your chair, a long table stretched out in front of about 12 people. Each place setting included a metal plate, a bowl with a handle on one end and a plastic mug. And utensils: your own two hands!

Then, our serving wench, Felicia, came to our table and explained which knight we would cheer for, what knights to boo and what two other knights we could cheer for if our blue knight should lose.

Then, she brought us steaming hot Dragon Soup (actually, vegetable soup that was very delicious) and a piece of garlic bread. Suddenly, the lights went out and a story boomed over the loud speakers. Here's the summary: The king's brother, heir to the throne, was killed in battle. Though the loss weighs heavy on the king's heart, he and his knights were victorious. Now, the King is holding a feast to celebrate and a tournament to decide who will be the next heir to the throne.

Next, all the knights, their squires, and all the servers paraded into the arena. The servers carried colorful flags according to which color tables they were serving. Once the parade was over, the king called out his horsemen and their Andalusian stallions to perform. The horsemen were on foot, leading their horses by a special harness. The horses walked on their back legs, jumped into the air, and even bowed when the performance was over.

By this time, our serving wench brought each of us a half chicken. It was a little dry, but flavorful. She also brought us a half of a baked potato and a pork rib.

After the Andalusian stallion demonstration, the royal falconer arrived in the arena. He rode in and undid his falcon's hood and - whoosh! - the falcon soared into the air and flew around the arena. It flew very close to our heads. Then, the falconer threw a rope with a treat on it into the air. The falcon swooped down and caught the rope in its talons and landed gracefully. After the falconry presentation, four beautiful gray horses marched into the arena and performed a drill team exhibition.

Finally, the tournament began. All six knights rode into the arena, bearing colorful banners. Everyone cheered for their champion.

The competition began with the knights trying to collect small metal rings on their lances. Then, they galloped towards a bull's-eye with a javelin in hand and threw it at the target. Each knight that won received flowers from the princess.

And last, but certainly not least, the jousting began! Our blue knight galloped full speed at the yellow knight, but - wham! - the yellow knight's lance struck the blue knight and toppled him to the ground. But he was not yet defeated. His squire handed him a sword, the yellow knight took his sword and a hand-to-hand duel commenced. Sparks flashed as swords collided in midair and the knights rolled and dodged blows. In the end, our blue knight was victorious.

The tournament continued until the winner - the yellow and red knight - was named the new heir. But as he celebrated, a mysterious black knight came charging up and knocked the yellow and red knight to his knees. Before the king could decide what to do the red knight charged in. The kingdom is now in jeopardy. What happened next? You'll have to go to Medieval Times yourself to find out.

The only things I did not enjoy were the lighting for picture taking. We were told we could take as many pictures as we liked, but the arena was dark almost the entire time, so my pictures turned out blurry. Also, the battles are a little fake, but they have to be, or the actors might get hurt. It was also pretty loud in the arena. I couldn't hear my brother talking to me, and I was sitting next to him.

But overall, the food was excellent, the show spectacular, and the atmosphere thrilling. So, if you're in the mood for some olde tyme fun, take your friends or family to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament.




If you go ...



What: Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament

Where: Arundel Mills mall, 7000 Arundel Mills Circle in Hanover, Md., south of Baltimore

When: Wednesdays through Sundays

Cost: $48.95 for Adults and $36.95 for ages 12 and younger; discount coupons are available online at www.medievaltimes.com/mdhomepage2.htm#.

Contact: Call 888-935-6878 or e-mail maryland@medievaltimes.com.

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