Driving past the Cambridge City Park, there appeared an unusual sight – what looked like a jousting match. Upon closer investigation this was a fighting contest called Dagohir, which was part of the 3rd Annual Cambridge Medieval Market Faire. The young fellows said, “We are gentleman off the field, but fighters on the field.” But their battle weapons were rather unconventional as this was “full combat foam fighting” where sticks and balls are all composed of foam.
Organizers explained that the Medieval Faires were organized to keep alive the legendary stories of old, such as King Arthur and the Round Table. Sir Eugene the Rogue and Lady Lavender are leaders in organizing the local festival, and hope through their games and stories to instill in young men a deeper respect for women.
Eight years ago, these two met at the Southeastern Ohio Renaissance Festival right here in Cambridge during a “Wooing Contest.” Here the single men line up on one side and the single women on the other. They then proceed to say clever things to each other that might attract the partner of their choice. Lavender Lady confessed that The Rogue charmed her with his poetry. Their prize, besides the lady or man of their choice, was a statue of two piglets. Why, you ask, would they give out pigs for a prize? The answer given: “No matter how well a man speaketh, in the end we know they are all pigs.”
Tents were scattered throughout the park displaying wares of various merchants…all with items from the Renaissance period. Ladies of the Lace displayed beautiful handmade clothing from days of old. In another tent, wooden book covers and small chests were finely made, so decided to spill a bag of runes atop a chest to get a better look. These rose runes were made of baked clay, stamped with the runic alphabet, and then hand painted by the young man in the tent. Runecasting works with the subconscious so when posed with a deep question, one reaches into the bag of runes for a possible answer.
Sitting in a 10th Century German Chair was Uthr in a spot called The Throne Room. Uthr told an interesting story of his life beginning with his membership in the Society for Creative Anachronism, an international group exploring and recreating the arts and skills of pre-17th century Europe. Today he makes beautiful walking sticks and travels around the country sharing his stories with anyone who will listen.
Tants Muziky, which means Dance Music in Ukranian, presented Renaissance and Medieval music on a variety of ethnic instruments throughout the day. This musical family, although not related, also plays a wide variety of music from the European nations: Slovak, Celtic and Scandanavian were a few that they mentioned. Dancers were also present in beautiful costume to add a little flair to the performance.
What an interesting and fun-filled afternoon! Later they were having Broomstick Jousting, also called Full Feather Jousting, where you try to knock someone off their broomstick. The last one left is the champion…no prize, just the honor until next year. Need another Renaissance game? Kickin’ the Chicken might be more your style. Could Harry Potter be around here somewhere?
The Cambridge Medieval Festival is held at the City Park in Cambridge, Ohio the second weekend of October annually. Cambridge is at the crossroads of I-70 and I-77 so it’s quite easy to access. When downtown, directly behind the courthouse is 8th Street, which will lead you straight to the park.