BOONVILLE — Medieval and renaissance reenactments bring history and fantasy alive, and for the second year, a group of friends who love the medieval and renaissance festival life will be putting on the Langston’s Jewel Medieval Faire in Boonville.
The faire was idea of Denise Thompson’s. She became involved in reenacting on the weekends after her husband passed as a way of escaping the stress of being a working single mother of very young children. That was 24 years ago, and the now grandmother continues to love being able to become part of a time long ago whenever the chance arises.
“It doesn’t have to be something large or ongoing, but just a weekend for something to do, and we thought it would be nice to help somebody else out while we’re doing it,” she said of the thought behind holding the faire. Once expenses are paid out, any profit made by the group will be donated to Barium Springs Children’s Home in Troutman.
While the event being held at the Castle in Boonville, Walter Triplett’s home at 2239 Center Road, isn’t until June 25 and 26 this year, work already is being done to secure those who will be performing and reenacting through the holding of auditions this month. Last year, auditions were only held in Statesville, but in hopes of involving more people from the local area in the faire, this year auditions also will be held at the Comfort Inn in Jonesville.
Last year participants included a belly dancing troupe, a blacksmith, the king of France and Queen Isabelle from Spain, Thompson said. “It was a lot of people just having fun.”
She said it is rumored a mermaid will be in attendance this year as well as royalty from the four corners of the world, royal hobbyhorse racers and a maypole. There will be pottery and blacksmith demonstrations.
Many of those involved are members of one or two major reenactment groups, Adria and SCA, Society for Creative Acronym), explained Thompson. “Some of us we’ve known each other for years, some met at the renaissance festival. Once you get bitten by the bug, you’re never the same.”
The story of the faire which the organizers created circles around the life of Dr. D.C. Langston, a proud gentleman from Victorian times who was a member of his Majesty’s Royal Navy. On a trip to Greece he finds a small statue on the ground and puts it back in place, and Thompson said, that one motion set the whole faire into motion. He falls asleep and finds out he is no longer in Victorian England, but in a place where people from walks of history get along just fine.
Langton’s Jewel Medieval Faire is a village which is ruled jointly by four royal couples from the corners of the world, she explained. Once a day the couples come together and take care of all the problems of their village. “Not only are there humans, there are mythological creatures too. We went into history – all things we call mythological history come from folklore from different cultures and countries are based on something true – and put it into a big pot,” said Thompson.
“Dr. Langston called his village a Jewel. You will meet Dr. Langston there and be able to figure out whether or not this is fantasy or is he really in this place,” she said of those who attend the faire. “We want to have fun with it, and for locals to come out and be part of it.”
The faire is set in the Middle Ages year range of 500 to 1500. “We picked that period because it’s summer time and the clothing of that time is much simpler,” Thompson said. “And we don’t want to compete with anybody so that’s why it’s medieval instead of renaissance and a faire and not a festival.”
Auditions for those who are interested in playing parts and participating as characters in the faire will be held Feb. 17 from 6 to 9 p.m. and Feb. 20 from 9 a.m. to noon at Comfort Inn in Jonesville. Thompson said another audition will be held later in the month in Statesville, but dates had not yet been set for those.
Nothing prepared is needed for auditions. She encouraged those auditioning to be able to have fun, and one thing they will be asked to do is improve like take a cup and explain what it is without it being a cup.
The group also is seeking sponsors and vendors for the faire, which will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 25 and 26.
Admission to the faire is $20 for adults, $15 for those 55 and older and for military with IDs, $10 for ages 6 to 12 and free for 5 and younger.
She said each of the participants have a different reason behind why they reenact. “We have people who do it because there was nothing else to do at the time and it looked like fun, some people watched for years the people dressed strangely practicing; for me I had a friend who said I have something that will take your mind off [her husband’s death] and that was 24 years ago. I love it. It gave me just enough time to go away and not be Denise for a while and I could come back and deal with being a single mom and other stuff. It gave me a way to survive.”
For her to do medieval and renaissance reenacting, she said, was scary, because “all I’ve seen from that times is pale white, and I’m black. But the people who do this don’t care what color you are, they just know you have the same interest as them.
“Right now, it is one weekend,” she said of Langton’s Jewel Medieval Faire.
“You forget about what is on the outside of the fence and what’s bothering you, and be that kind again that was a knight in shining armor or a princess, or a princess that knows how to fight is even better,” said Thompson, who said she sword fights.
“It is just a place to come and have fun. We want everyone to come out and have fun. It is a family-oriented thing.”
For more information, visit Langston’s Jewel Medieval Faire on Facebook or call Thompson at 704-964-4275.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.