2004 marked the second MR Fair (as we refer to it) to be held at McLaren Flat and despite bad weather throughout Adelaide we had no rain during the official open times, though the Adelaide Christmas Pageant and threat of rain may have prevented larger attendance.
All the store holders seemed to do very well, with food stalls even running out of hot foods and even ice cream by the second afternoon. There is definitely positive chatter towards their being another MR Fair in 2005.
There was a fantastic array of groups and merchants at the fair including the NVG, SCA, GOMA, Jousting from NSW, several musical groups, belly dancing and a variety of stalls including the Horn Master all the way from QLD and Esford Pty Ltd with their replica swords and armour.
Handakas this year was proud to have two displays on offer with the inclusion of our very own mobile blacksmith all the way from Whyalla. Andy was a great asset to the garrison demonstrating blacksmith work to the public, and repairing gear for our combatants. We could even dry our towels in his tent after a morning shower!
Public were also able to witness the first (annual?) MR Fair Kubb Championship. The last combat display of the weekend was opened with the presentation of the grand prize – a bottle of mead to Kat. Well done!
Some of us spent the time running back and forth between the archery fields and the garrison tent. Skeld’s team was no match for my superior archers in a “shoot off”, however his skill with moving targets proved better while my aim waned later in the day.
The weekend included four combat displays by the garrison and all were met with fantastic crowd enthusiasm. Our displays varied depending on the direction of the enthusiasm, but included single combat, a grand melee, shield wall demonstration and a variety of weapons. As always our only female combatant Jo was met with some of the loudest cheering as the ladies got behind their patron. Hopefully in 2005 some of our other female combatants will be ready to enter the arena with her.
Aside from the fighting some of our combatants arrested a scoundrel and placed him in the stocks. The generous public bought his freedom – they threw eggs at him for a gold coin donation.
Of course the combat arena was also utilised by the SCA with their heavy fighters and rapier tournaments throughout the weekend.
Our display tent had many enthusiastic people stop by and ask questions and was enhanced with Emerson’s medieval portraiture and Gary’s demonstrations of tablet weaving and naalbinding.
We were also privileged to have the enthusiastic photographer Jason Champion, dressed in his monk’s robe, perusing the battlefield and taking some fantastic photos of our displays, which he was selling to public and garrison (the wonders of modern technology!). We are now proud to have Jason join us for training as well, so we must have made an impression!
Probably the most enthusiastically awaited part of the fair was the jousting demonstrations. With much enthusiasm NVG members took turns to leave the tent and find a good vantage point at their arena. Several skills were displayed including targeting, use of the sword from horseback and some exciting duels.
We have heard that the boys are enthusiastic to come back to our fair again and may even demonstrate horseback archery.
How else do you describe this excitement, but with pictures!!