‘Dress up and grab a turkey leg’

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Hear ye! Hear ye! Join the New Jersey Renaissance Faire for three more weekends.

Faire organizers saw thousands of patrons through the spectacular castle gates at the Burlington County Fairgrounds opening weekend. Families experienced live forging demonstrations of swords and axes with “LaForge,” learned the ways of life of Viking settlers with “Clan of the Raven,” and learned – and participated in – authentic combat skills with “Swords and Stories.”

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“We have an Arms and Armor demonstration this season,” shared Vincent Vandale Smith of Haddonfield, one of the leaders of the Swords and Stories troupe, a local group of armored sword fighting aficionados. “We are teaming up with the Band of the Hawk, a reenactment group who is also stationed in our encampment, to talk about weapons and armor development over the past centuries. From early medieval weapons like clubs, to more knightly weapons like swords, all the way up to the Age of Musketeers with black powder rifles.”

Swords and Stories has found unique ways to get the whole family involved in their Renaissance re-enactments.

“Squire School is our secondary show every day,” Smith added. “It’s usually a 20-minute show where we teach kids basic sword fighting drills. Then they test their new skills against some of our knights. On completion, they are knighted as Honorary Squires of Virtue and receive a Medallion for their hard work.”

And for those who may not partake in combative games, there’s a tea party.

“Fairy Tea is something that a lot of patrons have asked about, so we are helping bring it back,” Smith said. “Plus we have children’s books featuring two of our knights that the group worked on together. We’re very excited to share those stories with an audience.”

The New Jersey Renaissance Faire has blossomed over the past decade to host over 5,000 daily patrons. It is known throughout the country for its highly interactive cast of performers and fabulous live shows, plus a merchant village with handcrafted clothing, art, and delicious food. Be sure to check out the four-horse joust of knights, human chess match, whiskey tasting and special after-hours shows.

The Faire will continue the next three weekends May 25-26, June 1-2, and June 8-9 at Burlington County Fairgrounds, 1990 Jacksonville Jobstown Road, Columbus.

The New Jersey Renaissance Faire has something for everyone. Faire organizers urge participants to come dressed up and grab a turkey leg. For more information visit NJRenFaire.com

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