Students can experience the Middle Ages this weekend at the sixth annual Prairie Paladin Medieval Market & Faire. Hosted by the Museum of Antiquities, the event will be held on Sept. 29, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Bowl and Convocation Hall.
Helanna Gessner, the community outreach and engagement intern at the Museum of Antiquities, is organizing the fair this year, with help from the museum’s director Tracene Harvey and education and outreach co-ordinator Sarah Johnston. Gessner believes that there is something for everyone at the fair as the event is host to a number of attractions.
“There will be combat demonstrations, musical performances, a medieval market, children’s activities, as well as booths set up by the Saskatchewan Archaeological Society, the natural sciences museum, the Nordhere Vikings and the Society for Creative Anachronism,” Gessner said. “We will also be raffling off a Viking helmet with display stand. We have Simply Grounded Coffee and Smoke’s Poutinerie joining us as well. There is something for everyone to enjoy.”
Gessner states that, while the big draw to visiting the Prairie Paladin Medieval Market & Faire is the combat demonstrations, music will also be a central focus of the event.
“The Nordhere Vikings and the Society for Creative Anachronism will be performing combat demonstrations throughout the day,” Gessner said. “You won’t want to miss the medieval music demonstrations by Weldon Gray and Kathi Lepage-Davis happening in the afternoon.”
For Gessner, the Prairie Paladin Medieval Market & Faire will both enlighten fair-goers about medieval life and showcase some contemporary culture in Saskatoon as well.
“Our goal is to share the medieval culture that our museum encompasses and [to showcase] the cultural groups in the Saskatoon community that have made this fair possible year after year,” Gessner said.
Johnston, the museum’s and outreach education co-ordinator, says that the fair offers events and activities for people of all ages, children included.
“I have been involved with the Prairie Paladin Medieval Market & Faire for the last five years. I am once again in charge of the Fairy Garden, which is our children’s area. We will have lots of fun crafts and activities running all throughout the day,” Johnston said.
Although organizing a medieval fair is no simple thing, Gessner reveals that the greatest hardship in planning the festival is the climate.
“The most difficult part is trying to work around our crazy Saskatchewan weather. The groups we work with are very supportive of the festival and are willing to do what it takes to make it successful,” Gessner said.
Should the weather be too inclement, the fair will be moved into the Peter Mackinnon Building and the Physics Building, where the festivities will resume.
For Gessner, the Prairie Paladin Medieval Market & Faire is a truly unique event for anyone in the Saskatoon area.
“It’s something that people don’t get to experience every day, and I am honoured to help give them that opportunity,” Gessner said.
For Johnston, the fair is an opportunity to engage with the broader community.
“I really appreciate being … part of this festival because it is such a great community event,” Johnston said. “I look forward to dressing up every year and making sure that everyone has a great time.”
Graphic: Jaymie Stachyruk / Graphics Editor