Armored combat, juggling, blacksmithing, music.
You'll find them all at Caponi Art Park's seventh annual Medieval Fair. The fair kicks off a 11 a.m. and runs through 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 30. Admittance to the fair is free, although the park is asking for a $5 per person suggested donation.
The product of a partnership between the park and the Society of Creative Anachronism (SCA), the fair drew 200 visitors in its inaugural year in 2006. Since then, attendance at the annual event has grown at a rapid rate; in 2011, roughly 1,400 people attended the fair, according to Caponi Art Park Executive Director Cheryl Caponi.
While the Medieval Fair may only be in its seventh year, the foundation of the fair was laid more than a decade ago, during Caponi Art Park's annual Shakespeare Festival, SCA representative and Medieval Fair Coordinator Liz Pearson said. The SCA initially teamed up with the art park to provide costumes and "extra color" for the Shakespeare performances, Pearson said.
When the park decided to move its Shakespeare Festival to an earlier date, the SCA took the initiative to work with the park and develop a brand new fall event—the Medieval Fair, Pearson said.
This year, the fair will feature two new activities: Coin-making and an Angora goats and rabbits exhibit. But plenty of the fair's old standby features, like storytelling bards, glass bead making, wool dyeing, crossbow shooting and period games will continue this year, according to park representatives.
Boy Scout Troop 293 will also sell pulled turkey sandwiches, chips and other items at the fair. Proceeds from the food sales will help fund a troop canoe trip.
"It’s always good when history comes to life and when it’s fun for people," Caponi said. "We’re getting into a new era with all this technology and we're so separated from the natural world, which is sort of the point of the park on any day. I think the Medieval Fair, obviously that was a fairly low-technology time, but it was still very culturally rich."
"I think the goal of it, number one, is supporting the park," Pearson said. "It’s an educational opportunity, but it’s also a lot of fun."
The Medieval Fair takes place in Caponi Art Park's exhibition area. In addition to the main parking lot at 1220 Diffley Road, parking will also be available at the Lexington-Diffley Athletic Fields. Banners and signs will be posted.