Renaissance festivities highlights Jackson’s festivalJACKSON — Children strapped on a stuffed horse, grabbed a Styrofoam lance and raced toward a quintain.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
JACKSON — Children strapped on a stuffed horse, grabbed a Styrofoam lance and raced toward a quintain.
A jousting experience was just one of many events the Siouxland Renaissance Association brought to Jackson’s Rhythm of the River celebration Saturday afternoon.
“Today, we have children’s games with everything from the joust to slaying a dragon,” said Lady Katherine, who was one of the many re-enactors who descended on Ashley Park. “We have a story telling and music center. We have games for grown-ups and in the tent next to that is garb try-on. Across the way, we have crafts and we brought two wondrous vendors with us, we have a jewelry vendor and a costuming vendor.”
Both children and adults enjoyed the renaissance theme this year.
“This is the first year we’ve tried the afternoon and to bring in the renaissance,” said Paul Jones, who is the treasurer for the festival. “We thought, let’s give this a shot. It’s new for Jackson and it’s new for a lot of the Jackson people if they haven’t been to either the Sioux Falls renaissance or Minneapolis, they don’t know what it is. I think we’ve had a very good reception of them. I’m just very happy with what we’ve had down here (Saturday).”
The main goal of the association is to teach about the renaissance period.
“We try to teach about the renaissance in a fun way when they don’t know they are learning anything,” Lady Katherine said. “Those children now know about what a quintain ring is.”
“It’s sparking an interest that maybe they will go and take that interest further,” Luvidia Fontana said. “Perhaps they really like the renaissance and they are going to come play with us in the future.”
One of the most popular events on Saturday was the jousting.
“We’ve had people as young as 2 and as old as 90 participating in the children’s joust,” Fontana said.
The older people enjoyed the jousting activities.
“They absolutely loved it,” Fontana said. “I have never seen people laughing so much. There is something when you strap that stuffed horse on and you get that Styrofoam lance, something transforms your personality. You become even more outgoing and no holds barred. People let their guard down and it’s a lot of fun.”
But the young kids loved it as well.
“They do just fine because it’s a family-friendly event and it’s not about having them prove they are in control,” Fontana said. “It’s about them having fun, so we make adjustments. Everyone is a winner.”
It was through harp lessons that the Siouxland Renaissance Association ended up in Jackson.
“My harp teacher is the director of the Siouxland Renaissance Association, so that’s what the connection was,” Fransen said. “I knew her very well and we worked out a plan on how to bring her renaissance association in. They are very, very concerned about education and they are very historically correct. The point behind what they are doing is to educate children and families as to what the renaissance period was like.”
The association travels around throughout the summer, performing and educating.
“We have our own fest, which is the first weekend in June every year,” Lady Katherine said. “We do these kinds of events when we are invited to it. We do everything from going into schools and doing renaissance days, we’ve done Boy Scout events and Girl Scout events. We were invited by Kathy today to do some family-friendly things that we are very good at.
“We love doing this kind of thing. This is our mission, to teach and entertain.”
Along with the renaissance festival, the Town and Country Days and Rhythm of the River had numerous festivities going on during the weekend.
“This is the biggest and best festival we’ve had yet,” Fransen said. “I think (Friday) night’s crown was very interactive and started to get the whole renaissance feel of it. The music was spectacular. (Saturday) we’ve had a lovely crowd.”
The events started on Thursday and ran through Sunday morning.
“We’ve had so many different things going on,” Fransen said. “We just had a drumming workshop and we have demonstrations and they are putting on so many children’s activities. That is so important to bring families in and they are all free — this is a free festival.”
One of the highlights was the music at Ashley Park.
“The music was fabulous,” Fransen said. “We’ve had such great music this weekend. Some of the bands we bring in have a local connection.
“We even had yoga and Zumba in the park this year. I was at the yoga class at 8 a.m. and it was a beautiful morning.”
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Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.