Join the 26th Year of Stepping Back into the Time of the Renaissance

Author: C.L. Harmon
Category: Event
Date Published: May 11, 2022
Pretty woman smiling in surprise in Reaissance dress

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.

Man and woman dancing in Renaissance costumes

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 ye for­get about the unique shops, shows, and the Cas­tle to par­take as well.

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.

“My father Jeff is the mas­ter­mind behind this mess,” Hiller quipped. Hiller’s father, Jeff, had gone to one of the old­est fes­ti­vals in the coun­try in Cal­i­for­nia and had such a good time that he decid­ed there need­ed to be one in Okla­homa so he didn’t have to trav­el halfway around the coun­try to expe­ri­ence it,” Hiller said. 

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.

Renaissance man juggling fire

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, the suc­cess and longevi­ty of the fes­ti­val afford the man­age­ment to pick and choose from the best acts and per­form­ers in the busi­ness, Hiller said. 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 Tick­ets are avail­able to pur­chase on their website.

From ye old Cas­tle 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!

Crowd of Renaissance Faire attendies


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C.L. Harmon

C.L. Harmon

C.L. is an award-winning journalist who spent many years in the newspaper and freelance fields. In addition to holding reporting and editing positions throughout his career, he also owned and operated a newspaper for several years. He was born, raised, and continues to reside in Oklahoma.


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