The gloomy clouds and bothersome rain last weekend was not enough to stop the 9th Annual Kingdom of Osgoode Medieval Festival from carrying out amazingly. Volunteers and enthusiasts help visitors travel back in time to feudal Europe when day to day life, domestic habits, garment customs, artistic expressions and community structures differed greatly from today. Like most festivals of this kind, the Kingdom of Osgoode is a portal to a fusional view into the Early, High and Late middle ages, with a dab of renaissance period, tied together with an overall fairy-tale and fantastical setting; all the charm of the medieval era without the stink and social issues.
Garbed in my 15th century gown and cloak, I attended the lovely dancing and musical performances organized on various stages. Singers, master lute players, flutists and harpists added a great deal to the atmosphere. Some performances stretched out further geographically than expected, such as with a traditional Indian dance of the Vedic periods, an appreciated multicultural addition.
Other events included a birds of prey presentation, a tradition depended upon in the middle ages for hunting. A dueling demonstration followed, with various levels of armour and sword fighting techniques offered. The biggest happening was of course the jousting matches, where knights (both male and female) competed while riding impressive war horses the for the favour of the crowd, and of the Kingdom of Osgoode royalty.
Jousting is actually an exciting event to watch and can be dangerous for the riders. As the talented announcer told the crowd, each hit is like a car accident. On more than one occasion the jousters were thrown off their horses!
The festival is an amazing activity for children of all ages; a castle labyrinth, adapted dueling stations with stuffed swords and dragon defeating relay courses were set up for their entertainment. Scavenger hunts and quizzes were available to ensure the visit was a bit educational.
Like at most festivals, many unique local sellers had set up shop in the marketplace. Talented jewellery and accessory creators displayed their fantastical wares. Original materials and techniques included wood burning, bone and feather upcycling, metal work, soap making, flag sowing and more. Delicacies were also sold, including traditionally baked bread, exceptional preserves, and herbal teas. A pickle barrel on wheels traveled through the grounds, selling delicious homemade pickled field cucumbers.
The Kingdom of Osgoode festival is one of the best kept summer secrets in the national capital region. While some faced the crowds at the first Saturday of Ottawa Bluesfest, I sat comfortably in a fairy tale. This well organized and delivered little event is fully recommended to history and fantasy nerds and well worth the drive.
Check out their website: https://osgoodemedievalfestival.com/