Shire of Greyhope Recreates Middle Ages

Written by Neal F. Litherland. Posted in Uncategorized

Published on August 18, 2010 with No Comments

By Neal F. Litherland

The myths of the Medieval era are still very much a part of our modern culture. Who hasn’t idly fantasized about watching heavily armored combatants duel amid the cheers of a crowd, maces and axes smashing shields and helmets? Or pictured the almost delicate steps of a fencer, cutting a pattern of steel and attempting to get inside his opponent’s guard?

For some people, the Middle Ages are not something lost in the mists of time and fantasy, but they are a living, breathing, active part of the world we all live in. These people are members of a group known as the Society for Creative Anachronism.

The SCA is a not-for-profit, education-driven organization whose goal is to teach and recreate the skills and lifestyle of pre-17th century Europe. The group is arranged into a “known world” which includes the geographical areas of all the members. Within this world there are 19 separate kingdoms, and within those kingdoms there are baronies, and within those baronies there are shires. Each area is a smaller and smaller geographic area, which contains all of the SCA members. There is even a group representing Northwest Indiana, which is called the Shire of Greyhope.

“We have a lot of different members, and all of them participate in different activities,” Jennifer Dreessen, a local contact for the Shire of Greyhope, said. “We have glass blowers, costumers, weavers, light and heavy fighters and a number of other activities.”

The SCA may seem exotic to those who’ve never seen or heard of it before. This seems only fitting, as an anachronism is defined as something that is out of its time or otherwise strange, such as an armored knight on Main Street. But for those who are curious and who would like to learn more about the organization and what it does, members of the Shire of Greyhope will be putting on a demonstration for the public Aug. 21 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the South Haven Public Library.

“All of our events are open to the public,” Dreessen said. “But the difference is that most of our events are about participation and learning. This upcoming event is a demonstration, so what we’re doing is displaying our skills and projects for people who don’t know about them. If people are interested by what they see though, they’re more than welcome to come back to find out more.”

Fifteen to 20 participants from the SCA are expected, and the Shire of Greyhope is hosting, though members from other areas may also lend a hand. There will be displays of heavy fighting in which participants wear armor and fight with mock weaponry to represent swords, axes, maces, etc., light fighting in which they are fencers with lighter weaponry and different forms, glass blowing and weaving for people to come and see.

“There will be more than just demonstrations,” Dreessen added. “We also have members who will be creating displays for costuming, metal work and other projects they’ve completed such as suits of armor.”

According to Dreesen, this event has been in the making for roughly six months. There has been a lot of planning put in, and a lot of arrangements have been made to create the proper feel while at the same time creating an educational and fun atmosphere. But there are some points that people who come to see the demonstration should keep in mind for safety reasons.

For instance, demonstrations will be taking place out doors and it has been a very hot summer. As such, people are urged to bring plenty of water and snacks to keep their energy up and to avoid heat exhaustion.

Additionally, while there may be displays going on, this does not mean that members of the audience should try to participate. Make sure that you keep back and enjoy the show, rather than trying to become a part of it. That being said, the event is free of charge and anyone who is curious, is welcome to come and see what all the fuss is about.

“It’s fun to watch, and fun to do,” Dreessen said. “If you like what you see, there’s always the opportunity to become a member.”

For more information on the event, call the South Haven Public Library at 759-4474. More information about the Shire of Greyhope can be found at www.shireofgreyhope.org.

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About Neal F. Litherland

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Neal Litherland is a Valparaiso resident who has been a freelance writer for several years. A graduate of Indiana University, he holds a Bachelor's Degree in Criminal Justice. He offers advice on money-saving tips using common-sense tactics. He welcomes suggestions and comments. Contact Neal: neal@thechroniclenwi.com.

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