I’d never been to one of these medieval festivals before. I know quite a few people who have. I’ve never seen one around the Ottawa area before though. It was pure luck that I even heard about this one. It took place at Upper Canada Village, which is a historic park that depicts life in the 1800’s with walking tours through old houses and schools. It was their first time putting on the festival, and I hope they considered it a success, because I certainly did.
I got there far too early, was my only issue. Shows repeated themselves throughout the day and by the time 5pm rolled around with the banquette not even beginning until 7, I’d seen some shows three times and was tired of sitting on the grass. I wasn’t feeling the greatest at all, so I headed home early, missing that portion of the event. It was still fantastic though.
People came in costume, which I will next year. There was jousting and “Knight Richard” actually got hurt quite badly, being tossed from his horse twice, and stepped on once. Scary stuff.
There were magic trick shows, sword fighting, buskers walking along the fair grounds (there was even one family carting a bin of GIANT pickles around, that they’d sell to you on sticks. They were by far the best food at the event and big sellers). There were belly dancers (who also gave lessons, and contrary to popular belief, belly dancers have BIG bellies, not slim tiny little things. She was very beautiful).
There was also a bird of prey show, with Canadian birds mostly. Red Tailed Hawks, and Great Horned Owls. They took to the skies and flew around the crowd as the falconer explained about each bird. Great show. The royals were also there, King, Queen, and their entourage. They watched the jousting from thrones situated a little ways from the event.
For some reason even Jack Sparrow was there – and let me tell you this gentleman did not only LOOK like the Captain, he sounded like him, almost exactly. He swaggered around the park telling kids they should take extra peanuts from the bowl he carried with him. Very exciting stuff.
I took over 100 pictures while I was there, and it was just simply an amazing time. You can find 40 more of the pictures if you’re interested, here.
Hopefully it runs again next year. They’ll have learned some stuff about what people want to see, what sold well, the grounds themselves and staging could have been set up slightly better. It was difficult to catch all of the acts because unless you memorized the schedule, you had no idea what was going on or where that particular show was going on. The weather stayed relatively nice, and I now closely resemble a lobster – at least in colour. Even though I brought sun screen with me apparently it was not quite strong enough. My face and shoulder where I walked with the camera bag are a brilliant shade of red. Ah well the price we pay for a day of entertainment!