Medieval times, they are a-changing in Waterloo

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The usually tranquil Waterloo Park became a place of festivity, swordplay, and piracy (the Jack Sparrow kind) on Sept. 19 as the Royal Medieval Faire once again touched down in Waterloo. For those nostalgic of a time when all of your problems could be solved with a sword, and the common cold could easily kill a man, the Kingdom of Mearth was definitely the place to be.</p>

The Royal Medieval Faire is a pretty enjoyable time and the kind of bizarre, unique experience that you won’t find elsewhere. If I had to describe it in one word I’d probably choose “anachronistic.” That might be a bit obvious for a medieval faire happening in modern times, but the festival really runs with it. As soon as I walked onto the grounds, I saw the people of the fictional Kingdom of Mearth getting down to a mix of “Uptown Funk,” “Gangnam Style,” and the (possibly meta?) “Time Warp.” The Royal Medieval Faire sees its own silliness and fully commits to it. On the other hand, all the Game of Thrones merchandise being sold did challenge your suspension of disbelief, but hey, merchants gotta make a buck. 

Speaking of merchandise, you may be wondering what kind of products are available at a medieval faire. While some of the things on sale were pretty impractical  —  getting a rune reading was definitely just a novelty, and I have to wonder about the authenticity of some of the wands and magical ingredients on sale — I’ll admit that a lot of the merchandise on display was pretty impressive. There were beautiful fantasy- and medieval-themed posters and artwork, impressive jewelry and metal works, intricately designed medieval costumes, and more. Mind you, I’m not really sure what I’d do with a sword or a set of chainmail if I actually bought them, but it was all very cool regardless.

There were also a lot of engaging activities to take in at the faire. At the Queen’s Stage, musicians performed medieval melodies and sea shanties. Around the park you could try your hand at archery or rock-climbing, feel like part of a siege by testing out a battering ram, play a few typical festival mini-games, or get lost in a labyrinth (though the maze was more designed for children, or perhaps just the vertically challenged). There were also characters walking around the park such as the designated town drunk or some strange man offering mud to guests to make Mearth feel like a real town. 

The main event of the day centred around a competition to be the Pirate King. Why were there pirates at a medieval faire? Well, apparently the kingdom of Mearth has a serious problem with overpopulation, and needed to find somewhere to send their citizens. They tried to enlist the help of pirates to ship them off, but before that could happen, a new Pirate King needed to be crowned. This event centred around a few duels and a lot of ridiculous dialogue, but it all had a certain charm that could make even the most cynical and cold-hearted of people (i.e. me) entertained. 

Perhaps the most important battle of the day, however, was between man and the weather itself. Throughout the day, there were scattered showers that tormented the outdoor faire, testing everyone’s commitment to experiencing medieval times. However, the faire went on undeterred by the rain — a valiant display of everyone’s desire to be a part of a time before electricity, modern technology, or proper plumbing — Mother Nature be damned! 

Altogether, the Royal Medieval Faire was a silly and satisfying experience, even if it’s not the most authentic recreation of the Middle Ages out there. If you missed out this time, it is unfortunately only an annual event, but be sure to catch it next fall.

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