The Castle of Muskogee, Hear Ye, Hear Ye!
Ye ole festival in yonder Muskogee is to commence with fun and games of yore once again. Indeed, the season is upon us when we can traipse back into yesteryear and immerse ourselves in a long-ago time. Kings, queens, knights, chivalry, damsels, lords, jousting tournaments, and artisans of old bring history alive for those eager to experience Medieval culture in a setting fit for a king at the 26th annual Renaissance Fair hosted at the Castle of Muskogee.
Uniquelahoma recently had an opportunity to sit around the proverbial round table with Matt Hiller, Vice-President of the company Castle of Muskogee, and Becky White, General Manager, to learn what’s new in the kingdom.
“We definitely have some changes this year. We have a new stage area for the ‘Wheel of Death.’ This is a new performance of two 20-foot wheels spinning with an acrobat performer using the inside and outside of the wheels. It’s brand new and exciting,” Hiller said. Ichabod Wainwright is a performer and is well known on the festival circuit for his talent on the wheel, as well as skills and stunts in fire, knife, and ax performances. According to Hiller, several other new acts are sure to amaze and astonish lest you forget about the unique shops, shows, and the Castle to partake.
And of course, the main favorite attractions will be back, such as Birds of Prey and JOUSTING! The jousting is the centerpiece of the festival. The extreme sport of its day, coupled with a fascinating show of those incredible birds of prey. As for those entertaining spectators on the field of valor, jousting for honor, and mingling in the castle walls and courtyard corridors, many of these performers in their colorful costumes are local performers from around the state.
There is a core cast of 120 performers who even attend four weeks of classes developing their characters and accents. Many of these characters are based on real people in history and can even give festival-goers historical information. Others are realistic to the time, the 1560s, and portray individuals who lived during that time. Enjoy one of the many shows and performers to see the reality for yourselves.
Oklahoma may seem like an unusual place to plant a Medieval European attraction, so we thought a bit of history was in order. When the fair began 26 years ago, it started with just one weekend and has grown to six.
He started by getting support from other groups working at festivals in Texas and Kansas. It began small with a tent, a few small buildings, and not much. But over the years, people kept coming, and new acts would sign on, allowing the Hillers to extend the fair by adding another weekend every few years. Jeff Hiller is a former teacher and lover of history. As such, he has made the educational element of the fair an essential aspect for children and adults alike. One might say an educational theme park of Medieval history.
With it now being a six-week festival, acts that work the various circuits can lock down specific blocks of time, making it appealing to them to want to perform at the Castle, which gives festival-goers more entertainment options. In addition, Hiller said that the success and longevity of the festival afford the management to pick and choose from the best acts and performers in the business. He added that many of these performers comment how much they love the festival because the people in Oklahoma are some of the nicest anywhere in the country. And this means they choose to work our festival every year.
There is much planning and creativity in every aspect of the festival to bring a classic time back to life. From the education of the performers to bringing on skilled artisans of old Europe to the minute details of the atmosphere and realistic enactments, every aspect is designed as an adventure. If one has never been, it is undoubtedly a social event worth discovering, even for those not history enthusiasts. One can even dress up in costume, dine like a king or step back to a simpler time and place where history comes alive.
The Renaissance Fair began April 30th and ran every weekend through June 5th from 10:30 am to 6 pm. To learn more about shows, attractions, artisans, and special events, visit okcastle.com. Tickets are available to purchase on their website.
The Castle invites one and all to join the festivities of the Oklahoma Renaissance Festival! Step back into 1569 England to experience the royal quest for knighthood, a full-contact Jousting Tournament, Birds of Prey exhibitions, and traveling Acrobats! Her Majesty will declare a theme to honor the visiting Kings each weekend.
We look forward to celebrating the joyous return of the festival this upcoming spring. The Castle has updated protocols to ensure your safety so that we may convene and commence in merriment once again. HUZZAH!From ye old Castle Website