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Mid-South Renaissance Faire


2018/11/06









Article & photos by Tom Brannon

The fourth annual Mid-South Renaissance Faire booked two weekends at the USA Baseball Stadium and Park in Millington, Tennessee: October 13-14 and October 20-21, 2018. The first weekend had great cool weather for Saturday’s activities, but a very rainy Sunday.

The Renaissance Faire is an outdoor gathering that emulates the various activities that would be found at a country fair during the Renaissance period – particularly the summer of 1576. Imagine Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I on a tour through the countryside, and her entourage stops in the Shire of Shelby for some relaxation and entertainment. The local “villagers” hold a festival in her honor, with music, dancing, food, merchant rows, performances by jousters, and a variety of skill tests and games in the Field of Follies. Special events include Tea with Hatty, the Maddest Hatter; a Doggie Costume Contest and a Costume Contest for faire patrons; and a Knighting Ceremony – be knighted by the Queen.

For Josh Mason (as Arthur, King of the Britains) and Michael LoBianco (as Patsy) it was like a scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Michael carried two coconut halves and tapped them together as he “cantered” around the park. Josh said that people kept coming up to them quoting lines from the movie, such as “What is your quest?” and “Where did he get the coconuts?” Josh would smile and respond with the next line of the movie script.

Food and drink included turkey legs and mead from Queen’s Reward Meadery in Tupelo, Miss.

Music and entertainment was included in all of the fun with two performance tents. The sound of bagpipes, lutes, and a bodhrán could be heard throughout the day.

The faire was also a fun costume party with many spectators in costume true to the period and others cast as 18th century pirates and fantasy characters, such as elves and hobbits.

The equine world had its costumed characters as well. Kendra Hockran, of DSD Stables in Millington, dressed some of her horses as unicorns and some as “My Little Pony” characters. Little girls, many dressed like princesses, could ride the “unicorns,” led by Kendra, and her assistants. Kendra was costumed as a fairy princess, complete with pointed ears.

Full Contact Jousting was the most exciting horse event at the faire. As in the days of old, the jousting team of Krystal Dorsey and Rob Earhart mounted on their steeds, and charged at each other with lance and sword to a cheering crowd of spectators. They are part of RoundtableProductions of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The company, owned by Rob, has three complete crews, consisting of two mounted jousters each, performing sometimes simultaneously at different faires thorough the U.S. The knights of each crew are rotated so that everyone can be familiar with all six horses in the company.

Jousting performances were held three times each day.  Previous Mid-South Renfaires took place in August, but the cooler October weather of this year’s Renaissance Faire was much easier on both horses and knights. It was also performed in the open on the grass, which is historically accurate.  Krystal played the part of Sr. Kaladry of Staunton mounted on Hadley, a 16-year-old, 15.2 hand rescued gelding. Hadley was ridden bitless in a hackamore. Rob played the part of Sir Orik of Swabia mounted on Fredrick the Great (aka, Freddie.)         
 
Freddie is an 18-year-old, 16 hand Belgian/Quarter Horse cross, whom Rob purchased off a kill trailer headed for the slaughter house. Freddie had been hauling logs, wearing chains instead of a harness, and the chains had cut deep gouges in his flesh. After Rob purchased the horse and the wounds healed, he promised Freddie that he would never have to pull logs again. There are still white hair spots on Freddie’s shoulders where the wounds had been. Rob said that Freddie loves jousting and draft horses are representative of what the Renaissance knights actually rode.   

Find more information about the Mid-South Renaissance Faire at their website: midsouthrenfaire.com and on facebook at: Mid-South Renaissance Faire.

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