Period party

Renaissance Faire
brings the Middle Ages to life in Kentucky

Henry Co. students coordinate event
to raise money for arts

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

NEW CASTLE, Ky. (April 2005) – Henry Countians are in for a treat when the Middle Ages descend upon the community in April. A minstrel atmosphere will pervade the Henry County Fairgrounds as knights and ladies, magicians and madrigal performers entertain the crowds.
The idea for a Renaissance Faire came about when Henry County High School and Middle School students were looking for a fund raising idea last year. Eighth-grade students saw the need for a kiln and wanted to bring one to Henry County, said Henry County Middle School assistant principle Lorri Stivers. The students held a fall celebration called On Fire For the Arts and raised $4,000 for this project, said Stivers.
“The eighth-grade students wanted to leave a legacy to the middle school,” said Stivers. Within the last two months, both middle school and high school students have helped plan this event. Proceeds from the Renaissance Faire will go to the High School Arts Club.
The Renaissance Faire will be held from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, April 16, at the Henry County Fairgrounds. Activities include equestrian riders and related events, madrigal choirs, roaming performers from the Drama Club, food catered by Our Best Restaurant, and desserts from the Henry County Homemakers Club, with special student performances held at the end of the day. Admission is $1 for students and $3 for adults.
Stivers is hoping to “establish a tradition for the Arts & Humanities components for the school system.” A Student Art Gallery will be set up in the 4-H Field house. Middle school students have been assembling period items to sell, such as wooden swords.
As part of their lesson plans, students have also researched their surnames and coat of arms and will display student flags and banners with their heraldry on them. Stivers said the students hope the event will bring attention to Henry County.
Bonnie Martin, an Arts and Humanities teacher at Henry County Middle School, said high school art teacher Mike McCardwell had approached her with the idea. McCardwell saw the event as a good fund raiser and as a way for the middle school to become involved in a high school activity. Elementary schools may also become involved.
Martin called it a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” for the students of Henry County. The event will fulfill core curriculum requirements in a hands-on method. It may even help with KATS (Knowledge Automatic Testing System) Testing in the spring, said Martin.
Her students have researched the arts, games and toys, and clothing of the Middle Ages. These preliminary studies have brought about a greater awareness of the arts and humanities field for the students. “I’ve seen a difference already,” said Martin.
Students have learned the similarities and differences within the Middle Ages and their own cultures. Louisville’s Frazier Historical Arms Museum will be sending two re-enactors in period clothing to the Renaissance Faire.
Michelle Gelback, marketing associate for the Frazier Museum, said Ellen Dressman and Nathan Logsdon will provide a knowledge and enthusiasm for the Middle Ages. The re-enactors may bring items from their own personal collections to display.
The Frazier Museum was asked to participate because it was a great opportunity for their community service outreach program, said Gelback. The museum is looking for more ways to educate the public about its displays and services through its Presence of the Past program.
Other special guests include Lexington-based Shire of Dragonsmark and Louisville-based Barony of the Flame. Both nonprofit groups are local branches of a larger organization called the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc.).
“We look at the original Middle Ages and learn, and put to use aspects that make up the Current Middle Ages,” said Gwyn Wright, member of the Shire of Dragonsmark. Dedicated to researching and recreating the arts and skills of 17-century Europe, the Shire of Dragonsmark has more than 30,000 members worldwide.
The Barony of the Flame is a sister chapter based in Louisville and the surrounding area, said Wright. Members were asked to participate in this fundraiser for the Henry County schools and will do so on a volunteer basis.
“Our studies cover the years from about 600-1600 AD,” said Wright, in addition to covering Europe and countries that had contact with Europe at that time period. “The SCA holds events where we can get together and share what we’ve learned and have some fun,” she said.
These demos are set up by the SCA at schools, libraries, churches and other public venues. “Demos are our way to serve the community and maybe get a new member or two,” said Wright. “We embrace all that was noble and fantastic about the Middle Ages, study how things were done, and then try them out.”
This event will broaden the horizon of many Henry County school children, giving them a glimpse of a life they have only previously read about in history books, but can now experience firsthand, she said.

• For more information contact Lorri Stivers or Bonnie Martin at (502) 845-8660.

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