Medieval mayhem hits city

Hear Ye, Hear Ye Mount Gambier’s inaugural Fantasy Medieval Fair has been declared a roaring success.

About 3000 people flocked to Mount Gambier’s Showgrounds on the weekend to immerse themselves in two days of medieval culture and costumes.

The showgrounds overflowed with re-enactments, gladiatorial fighters, jousting, archery and Maypole dancing.

One of the event’s volunteer organisers Talie Teakle said people travelled from near and far to take part in the fair.

“About 75% of those coming through the gates were locals, while there were people who had travelled from other states to take part,” she said.

“The horse jousting was really popular, the riders were Australian champions who had competed worldwide and they really loved it.

“There were also a lot of little quirky things like the traditional Punch and Judy show, which the children loved and the Highland cattle were a big hit.”

Ms Teakle said stallholders had travelled from as far as NSW to sell their medieval-inspired wares, which proved popular with enthusiasts.

“We got to expose local markets and also expose the community to people they had not seen before,” she said.

“People were surprised at the quality of the stalls, there were real primo quality replica weapons and tankards and all sorts of medieval goods.”

Ms Teakle said one of the event’s highlights was the Medieval Feast, held in a pavilion at the showgrounds, which attracted 170 guests.

“We had the most amazing atmosphere with plenty of entertainment, it was a huge success,” she said.

“The best feeling was bringing something new to our region, we were blown away by the costumes.

“We expected about 10% of people to be in costume, but more than 50% were wearing costumes to the fair and nearly everyone dressed up for the feast.”

Ms Teakle said about 200 re-enactors camped at the showgrounds.

“They had villages set up where they would go about their Viking kind of day, cooked on fires, carved wooden toys, people could wander through and talk to them about what it’s like to live a Viking lifestyle,” she said.

“There were blacksmithing forges, some of them were Roman gladiators who wore the traditional outfits and competed in fighting.

“The SA Scorpions dressed up in full armour and fought full combat, normally they fight other SA teams but they brought over Victorians and had a state versus state competition.

“Incorporating things like the local Bell Studio Highland Dancers was just awesome, at one stage I could hear swords clashing in the background and the beautiful music and ribbons from the Maypole dancing and then there were the smells from the campfire, it was a fully immersive experience, you could just stand there and think that this is what it would have been like.”

Ms Teakle said discussions were currently under way with other SA medieval fair organisers in order to choose a suitable date for next year’s Mount Gambier fair.

“We do not want to have them too close together to other fairs as people travel to take part, so we are probably looking at mid-April next year,” she said.

“We will expand on some of those things, like the horse events and this year we were impacted by COVID and had a fair few stalls pull out at the last moment due to close contact restrictions so hopefully by next year we will not have any of that.”

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