June 23-24 is the 2012 Ye Merrie Greenwood Players renaissance fair in Howard Amon Park.

Last night at the park with my kids I came across two gentlemen fighting each other in full armor. I thought they were practicing for the fair, but it turns out they are with an entirely different society.

They said the Ye Merrie Greenwood Players is truly focused on the renaissance, and call themselves “Players” because they emphasize the theatrical. The two gentlemen in the park on Wednesday were with The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA).

This group is dedicated to the study of life in the Middle Ages. Sure, they do sword fighting and equestrian tournament sports, but their society also welcomes people interested in the textiles, cooking, arts – even gardening techniques of the Middle Ages. And whereas the renaissance people are seeking an audience for their performances, the SCA requires everyone to join in.If you don’t have a costume to wear to one of your gatherings, the “Newcomers’ Liaison” committee has a closet full of them to loan you.

I stumbled upon an SCA chapter in Farmington, Utah, several years ago. I was walking my sister’s dog when suddenly I was passed by five kids in their early 20s dressed up like pirates playing hide and seek. Then when I reached the meadow I discovered they were having a tournament and the kids were medieval, not pirates, and playing some old game, not hide and seek. Whatever, I was just there to help the dog poop.

Anyway, don’t miss the renaissance fair next weekend, and look up the local chapter of SCA if you want to sword fight, learn a craft or share a skill to study life in the Middle ages.

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