Sunday, June 25, 2017

Oxford Renaissance Festival

Travel back in time when road rage meant picking up a lance and running full tilt into a knight on horseback or when the girl next door was referred to as M'lady. There used to be a great Renfest in Milton but that shut down years ago, now if you want to dress up in all your regal splendor you may want to go to the annual Oxford Renaissance Festival in Dorchester, Ontario. In 2017 the royal, pirate and fantasy festival takes place in the Dorchester Fairgrounds from Saturday, June 24 to Sunday,  25.
This festival started in 2013 and used to be held in Woodstock but moved to Dorchester in 2016. They are "proud to carry on the tradition of celebrating history, live music & entertainment, and artistic endeavors." The year is 1566 or thereabouts and the small village of Wolvercote, just down the road from Oxford University, is the setting for all manner of excitement and costumes - from pirates to Roman centurions and a goodly number of knights in search of a round table and something to stab people with. Huzzah, I will see you in the Morrow, until then I must away.
Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth the 1st and her court attend the festivities and are greeted with cries of God Save the Queen. You can volunteer and join the members of the Queen's party or just wear your costume to the festival. Wandering the village you can see vendors, stage shows and some exciting battles by noble sirs intent on delivering bodily harm to their peers on the backs of war  on horses or later, on the ground using swords and axes. Loved the jousting as the lances break into pieces with the horses running towards each other and the knights not yielding until contact is made.

New Riders of the Golden Age take to the Royal Arena on large horses with both in suits of full armour fashioned in the 16th century style. Wearing titling armor the fighters don't pussyfoot around, no this is full contact jousting using 10 foot long, solid pine lances and it is fun to watch. These guys are professional knights from War Horse Farm in Florida and fight all over the US and Canada.

The Washing Well Wenches - wet, dirty women that are a lot of fun

You could wander the outdoor or indoor vendors with such fare as crowns, swords and food, come upon some magical ladies in the Fairy Village, take in the shenanigans at the Washing Stage, watch the action at the Queen's Stage or at the larger Royal Stage tent or take the kids to the inflatables area. You could also take up some archery, watch the trebuchet launch watermelons onto a stick army or watch the gun crew shoot off a 3 pound canon or even take a ride on a War Horse. Boars Head Tavern also featured a great band and a small craft beer festival. Parking was free but they requested a donation for charity.

Dorchester is almost two hours from the centre of Toronto in a westerly direction, close to the City of London. luckily it is only a few minutes off Highway 401 so it is very easy to get to. The weekend festival starts at 10am and continues to about 7pm with full schedules of events throughout the day.

You can also check out the upcoming Royal Medieval Faire in Waterloo, Ontario on September 16, 2017. These festivals recreate a simpler time right after the black plague had cleared out a large portion of the world's population and people dressed up in metal suits to help them survive a day's work. For the rest it is a chance to play dress up and socialize with friends. It is also interesting if you want to try something a little different rather than the usual dinner and a movie or netflix and chilling.

See more of the fun after the jump.
The Queen on her summer throne

Some pretty maidens look towards their champion

A Roman soldier

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There is also the Pirate Festival August 5th to 7th in Guelph :)

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