Mutton and Mead on weekend menu
Rain or shine, get ready for a medieval time
Knights Beth Brown and Troy Fiser shatter their lances while jousting during a previous Mutton and Mead Festival. Recorder file photo
Now in its fourth year, the Mutton & Mead Medieval Festival returns Saturday and Sunday to Turners Falls with more than 65 artisans, knights jousting on horseback, stage shows, dancers, jesters and fairies. Promoters also promise unique musical acts and a children’s area with activities for kids, puppeteers and medieval characters. Reenactors will demonstrate skills such as cooking, textile arts, blacksmithing and sword play. People can also feast on delicacies including, turkey legs, roasted lamb, meads, beers, and ales. Pictured: “Sir Ian of Athol” attempts to capture a ring during one of the jousting events at last year's festival.
Recorder file photo/Trish Crapo
MONTAGUE — Armored knights on horseback. You just don’t see that often. Jousting returns to the woods of Montague this weekend, along with food, drink, dance and music.
The whole thing takes place in a clearing on the grounds of the Millers Falls Rod and Gun Club, 210 Turners Falls Road, Montague, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine. The forecast calls for shine, but in the event of rain, there are pavilions.
“It’s really one of those things where there’s something for everyone, but the joust is definitely a big draw because where else do you get to see an armored joust?” said artistic director David Agro. “It’s a true family-friendly event.”
Archery (free for kids), steel work and bow-making demonstrations are among the activities that typically draw a crowd. Historical interpreters occupy a section of the field, with replica arms and armor on display. Elsewhere, costumes, leather and woven goods and wooden swords are for sale. There will be fencing lessons and demonstrations as well.
A full list of demonstrations and activities and a schedule of events can be found through the event website, muttonandmead.org/entertainment.
Woven throughout the festival is a play, put on by a cast of about 50.
The Robin Hood play is a different adventure each year, created by the organizers and performed in slices throughout the day.
Cast members auditioned in the winter and have been practicing their parts and perfecting speech patterns for this weekend, the first of summer.
The theme is a mix of medieval and fiction, but the point is mostly fun. Spectators may eat an egg roll while watching a medieval combat demonstration or french fries while watching a medieval cooking demo. A section of the field is dedicated to children’s activities, including a foam swords game.
Organizers are also ramping up the history this year. The Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester, the country’s largest collection of medieval arms and armor, closed this winter and the festival has acquired a number of the informational stations.
“There’s this interactive pulling the bow activity, so a kid can see how much strength it took to pull different bows back. We’re trying to get as many of those up as much as possible,” Agro said. Organizers are working on incorporating these into the fair as history points around the field.
Mutton and Mead, now in its fourth year, is a production of the Knighten Guild — a Pioneer Valley community group formed for the purpose — and is a fundraiser for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and the Montague Common Hall, formerly the Montague Grange.
Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for children and seniors, free for children under 6. Parking is $5 per car.
Donations of nonperishable food at the gate bring $1 off the ticket price for two items, up to $3 maximum.