Guests at a Friday night fundraiser for the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown had the opportunity to dine with a rather distinguished figure: the Queen of England herself.
However, the royal guest was not a visitor from the United Kingdom but Crownsville, Md., where she reigns over the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
The queen and other Ren Fest performers were part of the entertainment for the Elizabethtowne Feaste and Frolic dinner, an annual event that raises funds for scholarships to USMH.
Held in the USMH courtyard, the event attracted about 140 guests this year and raised nearly $27,000, said Jamie Bushong, USMH's coordinator of external relations and student services and co-organizer of the festival.
The money will be used to provide $2,500 scholarships to 10 students, Bushong said.
Held since 2008, Feaste and Frolic has already funded scholarships for 30 students, she said.
In addition to a Renaissance-themed dinner, guests at this year's event had the opportunity to interact with performers such as a magician and troubadour who strolled the courtyard as guests mingled.
"In the past we've had a sit-down dinner and entertainment," said Erin Harman, USMH director of advancement and outreach. "This has more of a festival atmosphere."
The event also featured madrigal performances by the Frostburg State University Chamber Choir.
Two distinguished guests, James Pierne and Gregory Snook, were also honored in a knighting ceremony.
Pierne was the chairman of the USMH board of advisers when the campus was first created, and Snook was the president of the Washington County Board of Commissioners at that time.
Both men and their wives were dressed in Renaissance costumes borrowed from Hagerstown Community College students.
Snook said he at first balked at the idea of participating in the knighting ceremony, but after thinking it over agreed to don hose and breeches to support a good cause.
"I just hope she doesn't cut my ear off," he joked about the queen.
Pierne, too, was a good sport about the knighting.
"It's a good opportunity to support the university, and I know it will support money for the students," he said.