MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Features

May 5, 2011

16th annual Oklahoma Renaissance Festival starts this weekend

— Glide around in a princess gown or growl like a barbarian in armor at the 16th annual Oklahoma Renaissance Festival at The Castle of Muskogee.

Or gather up the family and visit in sneakers and T-shirts — either way, all are welcome to visit the 16th century every weekend through May.

 The annual festival features a multitude of activities and shows plucked from the era of castles, knights and fair maidens.

Meet the king and his court jester inside the castle keep or watch knights joust in the tournament arena.

Dance along the king’s highway or watch a living chess game. Explore an old-world clothing shoppe or have an ale at the Fox and Pheasant Tavern.

No matter where visitors end up at The Castle of Muskogee, they’ll find something to please every person in the family.

The Children’s Realm features games children can play for free. Well, almost for free.

Each child must sign a contract to be chivalrous, said Matt Hiller, steward of the castle.

“They’ll have to promise to clean their room and be nice, then they can dig up ‘gold’ doubloons and use them to play games,” Hiller said, laughing.

There are plenty of other children’s activities scattered throughout the realm.

“We have goats, sheep, coo, a coney (which is a rabbit) and baby ducks, just to name a few,” said Vikki Heuman, a historian from “The Blackhouse” — an ancient Scottish farmhouse complete with petting zoo and butter churning.

What is a coo? A Scottish cow, said John Heuman, historian, wearing a Scottish kilt and leading his coo around by a rope.

Children can meet “Miracle,” a large coo with short horns and a deep love for John — she eats snacks right out of his mouth.

Vikki churns milk, and kids get to try their hand at churning as well at the ancient Scottish farmhouse in the Celtic Quarter of Castleton.

And if the “wee lads and lasses” are lucky, Capt’n Pinky LaClore, the pink pirate, might stroll by and challenge them to a buttermilk chugging contest.

“After three o’clock, if I’m walking by, I’ll challenge some wee lads and lassies to a ‘chug-a-mug’ contest,” Capt’n Pinky, also known as Loyd Curtis from Alabama, said. “They usually take a sip and spit it right out. But last year I had one lad beat me and ask for more.”

Capt’n Pinky is but one of the many interactive historians visitors will find around “Castleton” — the name of the village at The Castle of Muskogee.

And, though most wee lads aren’t having none of the pink pirate he said, the wee lassies love it, he said.

“Bluebeard, Blackbeard, Yellowbeard — they all got the good names,” Capt’n Pinky said. “Pink was the only color left so the other pirates will just have to deal with it.”

If buttermilk isn’t what the family is after, they can eat like a king from the 16th century and gnosh on a smoked turkey leg held with two fists.

Or, have a pizza. Whichever visitors prefer, most everything to quench thirst and fill tummies can be found at the festival.

Those who enjoy the bang and clash of a good battle can watch jousting matches twice a day.

Gregory Purcell, AKA “Sir Gregory,” from Chicago, and Paul Hoerner, AKA “Sir Thomas”, from Philadelphia, put on a jousting exhibition twice a day.

“I, Sir Thomas, promise blood,” Hoerner said. “Not really, but if someone comes off, then they come off. We actually are hitting each other.”

Professional entertainment is also featured at the Renaissance Festival — from musical acts to magic acts.

Some of those include: Birds of Prey, Harley LaQuinn — 9-foot tall juggler and magician, Tribal Circus Show, The Jester Rejects, The Jolly Rogers and many more.

The festival also includes many special events, some free and some for an extra cost.

The Queens Quest, for 12 and under, goes on daily. Children are charged with the task of finding Queen Margaret of Scotland’s lost hair ribbons.

Children can bring them to the Great Hall of the Castle at 4 p.m. daily and be knighted for their good deeds.

Those 21 and older can enjoy the King’s Smoker daily at 4:15 p.m. Experience King Henry’s England at the Fox and Pheasant Tavern with fine premium cigars, cold ale and good eats for $14 per person on Saturday and $11 per person on Sunday.

All ages are welcome to join the Queen’s Tea. Queen Margaret and her court of Ladies for music, sweets, sandwiches and tea for an additional cost of $8 per person, daily at 1 p.m.

The Masque ball is held from 7 to 10 p.m. May 7, and costs $20 per person. Despite the name, a mask is not required but period costumes are preferred.

From 7 to 9 p.m. May 14, visitors can join the King’s Feaste for $34.95 per person. The feast includes a four-course meal with King Henry VIII and Queen Margaret of Scotland and their court as well as song and dance.

Many more feasts and parties are available throughout May. Visit www.okcastle.org for a complete schedule of events or to receive $2 off tickets purchased online.

The festival continues every Saturday and Sunday through May. Adults cost $14.95, students and seniors $12.95 and children $7.95.

Information: (800) 439-0658.

Reach Wendy Burton at (918) 684-2926 or wburton@muskogeephoenix.com.

If you go

WHAT: 16th annual Oklahoma Renaissance Festival.

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekends through May. Special events include: Masqued Ball — May 7, King’s Feaste — May 14, The Ceilidh (Ka-Lee) — May 21.

WHERE: The Castle of Muskogee, 3400 Fern Mountain Road.

COST: Adults $14.95, Students/Seniors $12.95, Children $7.95. Two-day passes available for $22.95.

Tickets available at www.okcastle.com. Tickets purchased online are discounted $2.

INFORMATION: (918) 687-3625, (800) 439-0658 or www.okcastle.com.

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