Medieval traditions come to life | TSLN.com

Medieval traditions come to life

Ruth Wiechmann
for Tri-State Livestock News

The tiny town of Regent, North Dakota is gearing up for big times. The North Dakota Renaissance Festival is coming to town for the summer! Talented performers and crafters are preparing to dazzle and tempt visitors every weekend July 13th through September 1st. If you follow the Enchanted Highway south from Interstate 94 all the way to the drawbridge of the Enchanted Castle, and you will find knights in armor, war horses, D’Artagnon himself, medieval style feasts, and a variety of entertainers.

Randy Jones, Taylor ND, was the inspiration behind the event. He got a team of people together to help bring his idea to life. After two years of planning and working behind the scenes, North Dakota Renaissance Festival’s first event is about to begin.

One of the main features at the ND Renaissance Festival will be the ‘Knights of Mayhem,’ a group of heavy armor jousters from Bastrop, Texas. Founder and Captain, Charlie Andrews, is a thirteen time World Champion Heavy Armor Jouster and has won over fifty-five tournaments to date on his Belgian partner, Jagermeister.

While jousting is no longer a means of settling disputes between warring parties, it still holds the thrill and excitement for participants and spectators that it has for centuries. Today jousting is considered a full-contact extreme professional sport within the Professional Jousting League. Between jousts at the ND Renaissance Festival, the Knights of Mayhem will be available for the public to meet in person, and spectators will have the opportunity to try on a suit of armor or ride a war horse if they so desire.

Another feature at the ND Renaissance Festival will be the Minnesota based Fandazzi Fire Circus. They will display their unique talent in performances during the first, third, and fourth weeks of the Festival. Also appearing every weekend will be the ‘Lovely Dozen,’ a troupe of belly dancers from Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Other featured performers include the mysterious ‘mascot’ Mephis, portrayed by a woman who wishes to remain an enigma, ‘D’Artagon,’ a Robin Hood style character portrayed by Hecker’s son, and ‘Mother and Father Goose’ with their gaggle of performing geese! Local talents will be displayed as well. ‘Queenie Heart,’ gymnast Katie Hicks from Fargo, ND, will be the festival’s jester. Daniel Thomas, a bagpiper from New Salem, ND, will be on hand, and students from Trinity High School in Dickinson have created a children’s show that they will be performing beginning at the August 1st event. Hecker’s father, Albert Kilber, will be on hand with his team of Percheron horses to give hay rides around Regent. “I’m trying to talk him into bringing a four-horse hitch,” she said. Gary Greff, creator of the Enchanted Highway sculptures and owner of the Enchanted Castle, will have a booth at the festival and will share stories about his work during Q/A sessions.

Vendors are coming from all over North Dakota and beyond. Melissa with Henna Mystic, a henna tattoo artist from Florida, heard about the upcoming festival and called Jayde to get her spot. Other vendors are bringing handcrafted jewelry, homemade soaps, and even cute crocheted dragons. It is not too late for more vendors to sign up for a booth.

There is still room for more participants in the Festival as well.

One of the organizers said the festival is still on the lookout for those who would like to share their talents, and they are still looking for hired help, including kitchen staff, ticket takers, parking staff, bartenders, etc.

Tickets for the ND Renaissance Festival can be purchased at http://www.ndrenfest.com. Tickets can also be purchased for the RenFeast. Each Saturday after the park closes the feast will feature a Medieval style meal with a different meat and a variety of breads, cheeses, fruits and vegetables. “The mead will flow,” Jayde said.

For anyone interested in participating in the ND Renaissance Festival, Jayde can be reached at 701-590-0251.