Medieval times come alive at Kelowna’s Camelot Vineyards

Members of the Duchy of Connacht put on a sword fighting demonstration. - Wade Paterson/Capital News
Members of the Duchy of Connacht put on a sword fighting demonstration.
— image credit: Wade Paterson/Capital News

Guests were taken back to the Middle Ages at the second annual Medieval Fair, hosted by Camelot Vineyards on Saturday.

The Duchy of Connacht, an Okanagan nonprofit organization dedicated to the study and recreation of the culture and history between the years 1066 and 1603, provided a number of different activities to make the occasion feel authentic.

Ruaidhri Silverhand has been with the group for over 15 years.

“I’ve been a history nut all my life. I was always fascinated by the thought of knights, chivalry and honour. It’s something that seems lacking today,” said Silverhand.

“I get to dress up in armor and fight with a sword. It’s like a fire hose of adrenaline has been put in at the base of my neck.”

The rush that Silverhand spoke of has also been felt by over 50 others in the Okanagan, who have joined the group.

The Duchy of Connacht is a local chapter of the Adrian Empire, a group founded in 1987 that promotes the advancement of knowledge and skills reflective of the time period.

One of the most popular events at the Medieval Fair was the sword fighting demonstration. Silverhand said the group studies and practices to make the combats as historically accurate as possible.

“We’ve gotten copies of the original fight manuals. We’ve studied and trained, learning the combat as accurately as possible,” said Silverhand.

“We have to make certain allowances for safety. There is no way we want to see anybody get hurt.”

Silverhand said the group gets together every two weeks to practise.

“A lot of the guys will fight at practise. A couple of us lead and teach because we’ve been doing it for so long and have studied particular things.”

The Duchy of Connacht also puts on monthly events to showcase their organization.

“For the actual events we have tournaments and wars. A couple of years ago we did the Battle of Stamford Bridge. We fought it as it was, with as much historical information as we could find.”

Aside from sword fighting, the group also features artisans, archers, lamp workers, historical clothes makers, woodworkers and even a blacksmith.

The group may seem intimidating; however, Silverhand said they are quite welcoming.

“We’re always looking for new members; we’re not exclusionary. We’re a family organization: A lot of us have children who participate to one degree or another. We are quite happy to teach new people.”


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