Did I mention I love dragons? I was browsing my historical society membership and saw a St George Day Festival. I’ll be the first to admit I had no idea who St. George is or was, let alone that he merited a festival in his honor. For you history buffs I grabbed a bit of information on him.
An interesting guy:
Saint George (ca. 275/281 – 23 April 303) was, according to tradition, a Roman soldier and priest in the Guard of Diocletian, who is venerated as a Christian martyr. In hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Church, and the Eastern Catholic Churches. He is immortalized in the tale of Saint George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. His memorial is celebrated on 23 April, and he is regarded as one of the most prominent military saints.
Saint George is the patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia, as well as the cities of Amersfoort, Beirut, Fakiha, Bteghrine, Cáceres (Spain), Ferrara, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, Gozo, Milan, Pomorie, Preston, Qormi, Lod, Barcelona and Moscow, as well as a wide range of professions, organizations, and disease sufferers.
Anyhow, on to my festivities. I drove up to Wrest Park, and was informed at the point of entry I would receive a discount if I joined a historical society. The savings seemed reasonable so I whipped out some cash and became a member. It proved to be a good decision as I ended up visiting a bunch of sites through the year reducing my costs quite a bit overall. And, I helped preserve our common historical sites. High five me.
Walking in I felt like I stepped back in time as everyone was in period dress and had small camp type sites set up. At each site, and there were dozens of them with artisans practicing their craft. I saw leather workers, people making pottery, tin-smiths, bakers, and even artisans fabricating chain mail and armor (at least that’s what it looked like to me). I just love these type of events and wandered around the entire site. It was huge, must have been 40 acres or so at least. In the back part of the festival were vendors selling modern goods and services along with activities for the kids.
I forgot to mention that as I made my way to the back of the grounds I passed an area cordoned off for what eventually turned out to be jousting and dragon slaying events. Finally … dragon slaying. I love the Brits. Before the heros covered in chain mail came out to battle the evil dragon I had time to grab some authentic British food made by what turned out to be Albanians (at least they had British accents). I know this as I have a habit of talking to people and my accent turned out to be a conversation starter. Anyhow, the fare was excellent and I grabbed another drink and wandered over to the jousting area.
I have only seen jousting and dragon slaying in the movies so this was a first for me. The participants all lined the entry area waiting for their turns to do battle with each other. I sat enthralled as the knights waged mock battles and did their best to convey realism for the fans. The locals and no doubt tourists (me included) loved it. When the dragon finally showed up the place was packed and the winning knight stepped in to battle the beast.
It was exciting, the dragon was a huge thing (at least is seemed so) and the fight lasted 20 minutes or so as dragons are quite a tough bunch. The dragon put up a good fight what with the fire breathing, loud noises and huge claws. Ultimately, the knight triumphed and the crowd cheered wildly. My first dragon fight was a success. I took a bunch of pictures and found my way out to another field where a narrator was reading a story as actors portrayed some of the royals throughout English history.
This was quite an interesting event by itself as queens and kings came on to a mock stage and acted out scenes from the past including some queens (or consorts) who had the unfortunate luck to be involved with King Henry the VIII. He was quite a character to say the least it turns out. He managed to find ways to eliminate every woman who didn’t suit him for many reasons and used the church to facilitate the process. It was quite interesting as I didn’t know any of this until I listened to the narrator. This whole king, queen and royalty thing is quite fascinating and even today many English and even the world continue to be gripped by every activity of the royals.
Well, after this I stopped by the eatery, grabbed some more goodies and made my way back to the car. It was a great day and I highly recommend you attend one of these festivals if for no other reason than to see the dragon fight.