Reporter gets medieval at fairgrounds games

Scott Hendrix, Linda Merchant, Sandra Bogle, and Elizabeth Estep sit together for lunch.

Scott Hendrix, also known as Edward fitz Ranulf, is a rapier fighter.

One group defends while another attacks during the Brawl at the Crooked Dragon Tavern.

Event manager Erin Potter poses with the Wellington Enterprise’s Kelsey Leyva.

Scott Heinig strikes a defensive pose.

Photos by Kelsey Leyva and Kevin Kern | Wellington Enterprise Catrina Kolesar, also know as Aurora, shows the Wellington Enterprise’s Kelsey Leyva the proper form for shooting an arrow.

Two groups charge at each other during the melee scenarios.

Reporter Kelsey Leyva attempts to shoot an arrow for the first time.

Jeff Saylor watches as his six-year-old daughter Kyra practices archery.

Sarra knits a hair net.

David Schramm, also known as Scar, poses for a picture after one of the armored combat fights.

Armor clanked and arrows soared through the air at the Brawl at the Crooked Dragon on Saturday at the Lorain County Fairgrounds.

Roughly 100 attendees, including myself, participated in the 17th annual event hosted by the Shire of Falcon’s Quarry, Lorain County’s chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

I donned a purple tunic straight out of a medieval history book and tried to fit in among other women reenactors in solid colored linens or dresses cinched with cloth belts.

Men’s clothing varied widely from person to person. Some wore shiny metal armor, others stepped forth in linen pants and long sleeve shirts.

Seasoned actors sought the authenticity of pre-17th century European life.

Event manager Erin Potter, also known by the pseudonym Kateline Eliot to those in the society, said she’s seen people emulate Japanese, Incan, Roman, Norman, and even Viking culture.

That doesn’t just mean creative clothing choices. Some go as far as studying historical styles of fighting to match the culture they imitated.

Some donned heavy armor or cut at each other with blunted rapiers, spears, and bamboo swords.

Fencers battled in a make-believe swamp, on a bridge, and in the Crooked Dragon Tavern. The “swamp” was colored tape on the cement ground, the “bridge” was bales of hay lined up on the ground, and the “tavern” was bales of hay stacked up to resemble tables.

Participants use their imagination and the honor system to act out the scenarios, dropping to the group dramatically if hit.

Fighting isn’t my strong suit, so I decided my alter-ego would be an archer.

Having never done this before, I was a little hesitant to approach the archery field.

The marshal in charge, Woody Adamson or “Woody of Gwyntarian,” let me borrow an arm guard, a brown leather shooting glove, and a bow and six arrows with white and black fetching.

After some instruction, I walked up and straddled the shooting line. With my left shoulder pointed toward the target, I took the bow in hand, palm down, and notched a feathered shaft.

Pulling the loaded string back with three fingers, I could smell the leather as I tried hard to keep my right elbow level.

I took a deep breath and let the string go, sending the arrow into the mouth of a dinosaur pictured on the target.

Catrina Kolesar, also known as Aurora, helped me with my form and said archery is one of the only events that isn’t altered for safety. All of the equipment is real and can be dangerous if not used properly.

Participants come from all over Lorain County and other parts of Ohio to spend the day away from the stresses of the real world.

Everyone I encountered was passionate about what they do, thoroughly enjoyed their chosen events, and welcomed newcomers like me.

Potter said the Shire has already set next year’s brawl date for July 3 and members hope to expand their reach and add events such as equestrian activities.

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.