Good times at the Medieval Fayre

by Sir Grant of Everett

Rose O’Ryan and Kelly Cook access our Windsor service. They heard that support worker Mathew Davis has been to the Medieval Fayre several times during its five year run, enjoying it very much. So they were keen on checking it out for themselves! 

Each May, The Blacktown City Medieval Fayre is held over one huge weekend at Nurragingy Reserve in Blacktown. As the goal of this event is to make visitors feel as though they have stepped back into Medieval times (though with much less Black Plague and much better toilet facilities), the fields, gardens and lakes of the Nurragingy Reserve are ideal for taking the crowds into an era before industrialisation. Better yet, when you fill the Reserve with dozens of volunteers dressed up in period-appropriate garb, having sword fights and generally acting in character, this is about as close as you can get to the Medieval era. 

The Fayre offers all kinds of sights and sounds that are designed to immerse visitors in Medieval culture. All the shows, rides and demonstrations are free, and there are no surprise costs. 

• “Feathered Friends Show”, seeing trained birds of prey like hawks, eagles and owls fly through the crowd and do tricks. They also had less fearsome birds like parrots and cockatoos, too.

• All kinds of professional sword-and-shield battles.

• A traditional blacksmith who shapes glowing red-hot metal like in ye olden times.

• Camel and pony rides and.

• An archery competition where the archers fired harmless foam-tipped arrows.

The only real expense you can expect on the day is purchasing lunch and there’s even a variety of Medieval-inspired dishes! “The Company of the Staple”, who expertly whipped up assorted popular culinary treats and arts and crafts from the late Medieval period. You can also buy souvenirs from the stalls if you want mementos. 

According to Rose and Kelly, the number one highlight of the day was watching the Blacktown International Jousting Competition. 

Held every year, this comp sees professional jousters armour up and hop onto their decorated horses to see who will claim the prestigious title. Competition is always fierce. Like all the other fights, the jousters wore historically accurate armour and dressed their horses in house colours. The audience was encouraged to cheer along their favourite warriors. What could be better than armoured Knights thundering towards each other on magnificent steeds, lances held high, trying to knock each other’s heads off? 

There are many dedicated historical groups who help with this huge Medieval simulation. A major component of making all this seem real is period-style combat, so the Fayre has many demonstrations that feature arms and armour from Medieval cultures like the Vikings, Normans, Saxons, Crusaders, Saracens, Byzantine and more. 

There was more to the day than sword fights. Other contributors who helped to create a living Medieval time capsule included “The Order.” They brought the majesty and strength of a travelling 13th Century royal guard to life, complete with Knights and a Royal Court headed by a King and a Queen. 

While all of the staff and volunteers who work at the Fayre dress up in accurate Medieval attire and really get into character, visitors are also encouraged to wear costumes. Cosplaying as Knights, Jesters and Fortune Tellers were all popular, though quite a few of the costumes were inspired by Game of Thrones and Harry Potter. There weren’t any specific rules regarding dress up, as long as people kept with the theme and had fun. Also, dressing up meant you could compete for prizes in the Best Dressed competition. 

After seeing how many people had dressed up and how much fun they had, Rose and Kelly decided that they would definitely dress up when they went back to the Fayre next year. Sounds like the start of a yearly tradition!

Thanks to Laura Myer for assisting with this story.

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