Locals host pre-17th century historical reenactment event
LANSDOWNE – Adhemar lays on the ground, defeated, after a quick battle with Gaston. He was no match for Gaston’s way with the sword, a sharp blow taking him down.
No, this isn’t a fight that took place many centuries ago.
Rather, it was a duel on Saturday, complete with medieval dress and close to 60 pounds of armor during an annual war camp at LORDA Park for local members of the Society of Creative Anachronism.
“I’ve yet to come to one of these events and not see someone walk away with a smile,” Spurius, aka Stephane Colin, said.
Spurius is one of approximately 100 people that spent the weekend camping, battling, and feasting.
In Pictou County, there are approximately 20 to 25 members of the SCA, a worldwide pre-17th century historical reenactment group.
Though he’s from Halifax, Spurius travels to many events, this time Pictou County, and yearly, Pennsylvania.
The Pennsic War is a favourite among the members, similar to the events that took place in LORDA Friday through Sunday, except on a much larger scale, drawing thousands of people and miles worth of tents.
For the Pictou County event, Sir Gareth Gray de Wilton (Rob Cotton), and his wife, Gwenhwyfar Dinas Emrys (Wendy Cotton), packed light, they said.
They managed to find room for a historical recreation of a Viking bed de Wilton made.
Roughing it for this group was Spirius’ roman day bed.
De Wilton met his wife through the organization after she made the first move, offering him a clover fruit.
He had injured his hand during a fight. She told him to hold his hand out, de Wilton assuming she was using her paramedic expertise to make him feel better.
She handed him an orange with cloves pierced into it – a gesture that breaks the ice, freshens the breath and requires the receiver to offer their hand, cheek or lips for a kiss.
“We kissed and we never stopped kissing after that,” he said.
Part of the draw of the SCA is the inclusion.
“You can be yourself,” Spurius said.
The other major draw, for Spurius at least, is the fighting.
It’s what attracted him to the group.
He saw a demonstration in Halifax six years ago, and was hooked.
It was the perfect exercise – two to three minutes of intense physical activity, followed by 10 minutes of catching your breath.
Though the objective is to make your opponent feel your blows through their armor, it’s not to injure.
Safety is not taken lightly, and an inspection is done before each battle to ensure the head, neck, vertebrae, elbows, kidneys, knees, and the groin are protected.
The swords are wooden, covered in tape, with a foam tip.
“It’s the closest to actual fighting you can do while still being safe.”
He mentioned that it is also equal opportunity; women fight, and they fight men.
It’s not all about the battle.
It’s a celebration of history, including music, food, classes on leatherwork, stitching, wire weaving, and games, archery competitions, and fencing duels.
“The fighting is easy. The rest is more important.”
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