By Rebecca Sloan

Medieval faire takes visitors back in time

Enjoy jousting matches and turkey legs, lutes and medieval garb.

ROCK CREEK, Ohio – Come one, come all, ye merry lords and ladies!

’Tis time once again for the Great Lakes Medieval Faire!

This year’s faire started July 5 and continues every weekend through Aug. 10.

If you’ve never experienced this one-of-a-kind event, put on your princess costume and make haste for the party.

No, I’m not being facetious.

People really do dress up for this faire.

In fact, plenty of folks take their medieval role-playing quite seriously.

Don’t be startled by the characters who speak with English accents, or ask you to pay with pounds instead of dollars, or curtsy in the street and wish you “good day.”

As you stroll through the faire’s winding paths, you’ll spot rowdy pirates, regal noblemen, humble peasants and court jesters with bells on their toes.

And only some of these people are paid performers.

The rest of them are regular folks like you and me looking to get lost in the Dark Ages.

You, too, can don a costume and step back in time. If you don’t happen to own an Elizabethan collar, just rent one.

Fairegoers can purchase or rent costumes at the faire – costumes worthy of a Hollywood movie, I might add.

Brocaded gowns with puffed sleeves and corseted waists, hoods made of chainmail armor, velvet cloaks that dust the ankles – part of the fun is just watching what fashionable curiosity will turn up next.

Of course, the costumes aren’t the only thing that gives this faire such an authentic flavor.

The entertainers do a fabulous job at recreating the days of King Arthur.

Whether it’s a musical act, a comedy act, or a daring circus-type act, entertainment abounds at the faire, and every show is included in the general admission cost.

The first thing you must know about the shows, however, is that while the faire is indeed a family-friendly place, some of the shows are not intended for children.

Bawdy humor was the rage during the medieval times, and many of the shows are packed with dirty jokes and innuendos. Therefore, if you’ve got kids, check your faire program for a rating before you settle in for a show.

And by ratings, yes, I mean G, PG, PG-13 and R. (By the way, only one show earns an R rating, and it’s a drunken sailor act).

Parents will be pleased to learn that some of the shows are geared specifically toward kids.

There are puppet shows and jesters who juggle and dragons who sing, for example.

And there are rides.

There’s a mighty pirate ship to climb upon, and a bouncy castle to leap upon, and a giant seahorse to swing upon, just to name a few.

Rides are not included in the cost of general admission, however, so prepare to loosen your purse strings.

Speaking of money, plan to exchange your dollars for “purple pounds,” also known as Avaloch dollars.

These are the faire’s official currency, and they are transferable from one year to the next. (This is the faire’s 16th year.)

Money exchange booths are set up throughout the faire. There’s also an ATM on site.

Many of the faire’s musical acts are also family-friendly.

You’ll hear fiddles and bagpipes and flutes and lutes, and see talented men and women dressed in medieval garb dancing and singing as if they were entertaining Good Queen Bess.

As you wander the faire’s shaded paths, music wafts on the air and creates an enchanting mood.

Don’t be surprised if you see a faerie flit past.

The fairegrounds are mostly shaded, by the way, and the winding dirt and gravel paths seem to stretch on for miles.

Around every twist and turn a new surprise awaits.

Artisans from all over the country gather to sell medieval-inspired wares including jewelry, leathergoods and swords, and fortune tellers sit in tents flipping Tarot cards and reading palms.

Daring swains swallow fire and walk tightropes, and pirates and knights gather at pubs to sip ale and swap tales.

Alcoholic beverages are indeed served at the faire, and at “beer school” – every day from 1:45 to 3:30 p.m. – fairegoers can sample exotic beers from around the globe.

A Barbarian Beer Blast is planned for the last weekend of the faire, and the Northeast Ohio Brewmaster Championship will be included in these festivities.

If you enjoy good vittles as much as good beer, you’ll be happy to hear that the faire offers a smorgasbord of tasty treats.

Vendors sell traditional favorites such as pizza, burgers and fries, but for those who’d rather have it served the Renaissance way, there are medieval delights such as turkey legs and fried dough.

For $40, you can even partake in a king’s feast complete with dancing, merriment and serving wenches.

Feasts take place every weekend at 4:30 p.m., and tickets are sold on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The faire also offers daily jousting tournaments at noon, 3:30 p.m. and 5:45 p.m. at the Joust Field.

Watch in awe as armored knights wield 10-foot lances and try to unhorse one another before the roaring crowd.

This is one event not to be missed.

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