What a wonderful century it was! It was chock full of notables, with Henry VIII a.k.a. Hans Holbein the Younger, King of England at the top of the list, but it also included, Charles V (King of Spain) Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Frances Drake, Ivan the Terrible, Nostradamus, and a cast of hundreds of other familiar names you would remember from school, but that would take much too long to document here. Just Google the 16th Century!
It was a glorious time for Knights, Maidens, Kings, Queens, and all those it took to keep the lot happy! A grand time, if you liked wielding a sword, on or off a horse, or a lance with a blunted tip while riding a horse, wearing a hundred pound suit of armour! Some did, and some still do! You'll see it done live soon!
Unfortunately, the 16th Century was also filled with diseases, or as they called them, plagues; most gone today, or at least called by more scientific names! You had your smallpox (1507), the Great Plague (1510), the Sweating Sickness (1517), and the Dancing Plague (1518...yes, look it up).
So, with all that exploring and death going on, the people needed entertainment, and there were many days devoted to feasting, such as Mad Day, Midsummer Day, and Ascension Day (just to name a few), when people would drink and make merry. Dances were popular, whether you lived in London or in a small town, and so was getting together at the local pub for sing-alongs.
We're going to have a "special day" too...FAIRE day!
During times of plague outbreaks, theatre was outlawed, but normally this type of entertainment was favored. Actors will soon roam the Roane County country side performing "joust" for you!
However, I suppose jousting rings a bell in most people's mind as the very best fun one could have in that day; either performing in a tournament yourself, or watching others risk life and limb while charging forward on thundering hooves and poking large tree branches at your opponent!
You'll see that kind of mayhem and more at the Tennessee Medieval Faire, during the three weekends ahead in May! Mark your calender now for either the weekend of May 16-17, May 23-24-25 (Memorial Day weekend), or May 30-31. However, I'll be you'll want to come all three weekends!
This is the GRAND OPENING of the faire. They aren't going anywhere; they are here to stay...with your help. As you can see in my photographs, it is being constructed as a permanent site. This is not a one time thing!
It is hoped that this family-fun site will bring tourist in from all over the country. It was planned to be a "big deal", and Lars and Barrie Paulson have chosen Harriman, but more importantly Roane County, to be the home of this endeavor. As you will see soon (last 3 weekends in May), a lot of hard work has gone into the planning and building of this facility. Much remains to be done, but this is the beginning!
The facility will bring tourist money into the area, jobs to the surrounding counties, and just plain fun...we need more fun! So please go out and support The Tennessee Medieval Faire...it will profit us all in some way. Thanks.
I got a sneak peek at the Tennessee Medieval Faire grounds Saturday, when a "media day" was held. It's located at 550 Fiske Road, Harriman, TN. Click the link for more information. Tickets can be bought on site, as a matter of fact, the new entrance and ticket kiosks are nearing completion now.
The entire "faire" area is surrounded by an 8' wooden fence. Besides the site's kiosks, pub stands, stages, and jousting arena, the fence is expected to enclose numerous vendor kiosks, for food, music, crafts, and etc.
Let me stress right now, that there are two main locations you need to know and and remember; the port-a-potties, and the BEER stand*! It's probably going to be hot and dusty, like it was Saturday, so it's important to find these locations immediately upon arrival. The potties are in several different locations, but unless other vendors come to sell beer, you need to remember the "faire's" primary location! (*Hint: it's East of the "Tournament Arena")
I had a great time at the "media day", eating food, refreshing my thirst, and doing my favorite thing: snapping photographs! All the characters were "in character" and, try as I might, I could not get one of them to speak to me in East Tennessean! It was either "merry ol'" English, French, or Irish! Seriously, I imagine that they now go home and speak in character with their families.
Did I mention that there will be BEER, food, beer, music, beer, and crafts at the faire? Well, there will be, plus a day full of entertaining singing, plays, sword fights, and jousting...oh, the JOUSTING, is awesome!
The jousting comes especially for us from The Hanlon-Lees Action Theatre, and actors/jousters Taso Stavrakis, and Kent Shelton. These two guys amazed me with their fearless charges at each other on horseback! The crack of the lance snapping is worth the ticket price to me!
The ticket prices, by the way, are $14.95 for adults, $7.95 of children, and those under 5 get in free! It will be a wonder to watch your 5 year-old's eyes widen, as the horses thunder across the arena with a "Knight In Shining Armour" on their backs! This is why they call it "fun for the entire family" and a new tradition "joust" for you!
A couple of my other favorite characters (besides the knights) were:
Professor Brent McDeWitt, who will be running the "Punch And Judy Show" on site, as well as generally walking around representing the "faire". He is a great guy, and I locked "ear to mouth" for a long time listening to his Irish brouge (a true one, incidentally). What a great life he seems to lead; traveling the world doing shows everywhere with his "puppet" performance, and his beloved "Cheeko The Clown" act! The places he's been and seen, and now he's in Harriman!
Corey Jones, because he is my all time favorite actor from RSCC stage plays, and just because I like Corey...always have! He just happens to be the Faire's Henry VIII, and while he doesn't look the "old fat man" with gout part, as pictured in the history books, he does play the role to the hilt! There were shouts of "beer and food" for everyone, which will probably grow in frequency once the activities begin next Saturday! It's good to be the king!
And, as his fortune would have it, he has a beautiful leading queen in Debi Weatherington, playing his wife as Queen Catherine of Aragorn. She, as did the real queen, seemed to keep things in order around the faire site.
There is a long list of "Royal Players", acts, and characters on The Tennessee Medieval Faire website and I tried to include as many as possible in this post (see bottom of post), but I think there were a few missing, but never fear, they will all be present come "faire" day! Check out their "gallery" for more photos of actors and players.
LET ME REITERATE...there will be beer, sodas, water, food, entertainment, and most just family fun. It will probably be hot, so think about sunscreen and maybe an umbrella...stay hydrated!
Remember, it's JOUST for you, so have loads of fun!
CLICK HERE FOR A GOOGLE MAP of HOW TO GET THERE! Or put 550 Fiske Road, Harriman, TN, into your GPS device.
And lastly, here again are the dates:
...and PARKING IS FREE!
Look for a 4-page advertising spread in the Roane County NEWS Friday. More information, photos, and games for the kids!
Here are a few more photos:
GO SEE THEM ALL!