Tag Archives: Society for Creative Anachronism

Blacktip Island Medieval Re-Enactors Will Joust On Scooters

jousting on scooters

Armored knights will face off with scooters as steeds this weekend at the Blacktip Island Society for Creative Anachronism’s annual Tournament of Chivalry. (photo courtesy of Jay Valve)

The Blacktip Island’s chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a global living history group devoted to the Middle Ages, will feature members jousting on motor scooters at their 17th annual Tournament of Chivalry at the small Caribbean island’s Heritage House this weekend.

“We’ve had declining spectator numbers the last few years, so we had to do something to spice things up,” SCA island shire Seneschal Catalina Luxfer said. “Jousting was the logical next step, but there’s no horses, or even donkeys, on the island. And two people with broomsticks running at each other was pretty lame.

“That’s when Finn Kiick, our Knight Marshal, came up with the idea of using motor scooters as mounts and boat hooks as lances,” Luxfer said. “A Vespa’ll approximate a horse’s speed, and when the combatants collide, it shows how effective Medieval cavalry charges could be. We sent three knights to the clinic during practice. The tournament’s set up in multiple, single-elimination rounds, with the winner being named Lord or Lady of the Island for a year and a day.”

Kiick, overseeing the jousting, downplayed the activity’s danger.

“Safety’s our number one goal,” he said. “Jousters have to wear period-appropriate armor and helmets, mostly built from stuff at the dump, and’re allowed a top scooter speed of 15 miles per hour. And once they’re unhorsed, they can continue to fight with Wiffle-bat swords and toilet-plunger maces.

“We’ve banned lances to the head, too,” Kiick said. “Any jouster who rams another’s helmet’ll be chucked from the tournament and banished from the shire. “Course,  Nurse Marissa, our chapter Chirurgeon, will be standing by to treat any injuries, and a mechanic’ll be there to mend any damaged steeds.”

Locals are eager to see the new sport.

“These SCA festivals had turned into lame cosplay, so it’ll be good to see folks go real-life Medieval on each other,” Chrissy Graysby said. “People are talking up Jerrod Ephesians as the odds-on favorite, but my money’s on Rosie Bottoms. She’s got that killer instinct. Not that I’m betting, since that’s illegal, but her at 8:1. . . that’s a gimme.”

The tournament will also feature grog and turkey leg booths, machete-throwing contests and an arena for wooden sword fighting among the children attending.

“It truly is an exciting event for the whole family,” chapter Webminister Jay Valve said. “There’ll also be a Bring Out Your Dead body stacking contest, a pit with mud and spoiled vegetables for people to fling at each other, a pox-painting booth and Jessie Catahoula, dressed as a hag, casting random curses on people.”

“We’re also thrilled the monks from St. Dervil’s monastery will bring their iguana choir to sing Gregorian chants between jousts,” Valve said. “They’ll also be selling their coconut mead, made only at their monastery, which’ll be a rare treat.”

Illuminated parchment admission tickets may be purchased at the Heritage House. All proceeds will go the SCA jousters’ medical bills and to Tiperon University-Blacktip’s Medieval studies department.

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Fire Destroys Blacktip Island’s First Renaissance Faire

renaissance fire

The main stage at Blacktip Island’s inaugural Renaissance Faire was destroyed Wednesday by arsonists who misread a publicity notice. (photo by Paloma Fairlead/BTT staff)

A misunderstanding regarding notices for Blacktip Island’s inaugural Renaissance Faire Wednesday resulted in four arrests, nine injuries and the venue’s destruction after a series of purposely-set fires, organizers said.

“We had a flyer-writing party to divvy up the workload, and some of them had a minor gaffe in them,” the island’s Society for Creative Anachronism shire grand seneschal Jay Valve said. “Clete Horn left the ‘a’ out of the ones he did, so they read ‘Renaissance Fire. A handful of folks took that literally and torched everything.

“The first sign of trouble was Dermott Bottoms and his buddies showing up wearing Viking helmets made from buckets and carrying tiki torches,” Valve said. “We thought they just wanted to be part of the spectacle. Then they sparked the tents, the food shoppes and the stage. The whole village burned in less than 15 minutes.”

Event participants were stunned.

“We were so excited to have our first Ren Fest on Blacktip,” Angela Fisher said. “The kiddos were enjoying their gruel-on-a-stick when—bam—yahoos started burning everything. We were looking forward to the jousting-on-hobby horses, but they even burned the horses. Then a vat of mead exploded all over us. The little ones are traumatized.

“The tents, and the dunk-a-wench booth took ages to build,” Fisher said. “And there’s hundreds of conch fritters ruined, and kegs of ale destroyed. They even burned some nearby docks. And the library. Thankfully, the librarian saved both books. I don’t know how we talk to the kids about this.”

Authorities arrested four residents.

“Couldn’t get here in time to stop the fires, but I’ve got the perpetrators locked up,” Island Police Constable Rafe Marquette said. “No surprise it was Dermott Bottoms, James Conlee, and Linford Blenny. The fourth, Catalina Luxfer, is chained to my office desk since we only got one cell and I can’t put her in with those yobbos.

“Nine folks went to the clinic with injuries, mostly smoke inhalation,” Marquette said. “And Lee Helm’s got second-degree burns from running into a food booth to steal corndogs. I’m still tallying what to charge who with.”

The arsonists defended their actions.

“Organizers’ fault, you know, putting them signs up for a Renaissance Fire,” Dermott Bottoms said. “We thought the flyers about a ‘faire’ were mistakes. ‘Fire’ makes more sense. Who the hell spells ‘fair’ with a ‘e’? They didn’t want stuff burned, they should’ve been clear on that.”

“We was just joining in, dressed like Huns since they didn’t have any of those yet,” Bottoms said. “Seemed odd they wanted that stuff burned, but we were happy to do our part. Thought it went off pretty well. It all burned real good. And fast. And that was a lot more fun than folks playing lutes and dressing funny. Can’t wait to do it again next year.”

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Blacktip Islanders Catapult Culled Lionfish For Charity

Freshly-speared lionfish ready to be catapulted into Blacktip Island’s community garden.

Freshly-speared lionfish ready to be catapulted into Blacktip Island’s community garden.

As part of the fight against invasive Indo-Pacific lionfish devastating Caribbean reefs, the Blacktip Island Agricultural Society will stage its inaugural Spring Fling Lionfish-Tossing Tournament Saturday, with proceeds going to the island’s chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

The event is part of broader lionfish control efforts throughout the Caribbean.

“Our reefs are under siege from lionfish,” event organizer Buddy Brunnez said. “It made sense to combine the cull with a Medieval siege engine-building contest. Community groups raise money for their team, hand-craft a catapult from supplies found on-island, then launch their catch into the community vegetable garden.”

Team members on scuba will have one hour to spear as many lionfish as possible. They will then report to the garden site for weigh-in, counting and flinging.

“It’s absolute genius,” Eagle Ray Cove general manager Mickey Smarr said. “We’re culling so many the damn things, we’re up to our ears in lionfish. We’re sick of eating them. So are the tourists. The restaurants are glutted. Using them for fertilizer is the perfect solution.”

“It’s spring, the time of rebirth and renewal,” Agriculture Society president Marcia Seagroves said. “These lionfish will bind us all, via the vegetables we eat, to that ancient cycle of life and death. We’ll plow them into pulp to make sure they’re fully integrated in that cycle.”

“Any pre-gunpowder era flinging device is acceptable,” Brunnez said. “Most teams are going with simple onager-style catapults. Trebuchets are the top of the line, for payload, accuracy and old-fashioned esthetics. But they take a bit of know-how to get right.”

“We had to scrap our trebuchet,” said Val Schrader, Sandy Bottoms Resort team captain. “It generated so much force the lionfish were pretty much vaporized when we released the counterweight. It was beautiful from a distance, but the folks manning the sling weren’t too happy.”

“We’ve built a bamboo ballista based on an image from the Bayeux Tapestry,” said Blacktip Haven team member and island SCA president Jessie Catahoula. “Going for accuracy on multiple shots instead of putting all our fish in one sling, so to speak.”

The contest is not without its hazards, however.

“We’re making doubly-sure we clear the garden area of spectators after little Jimmy Cottonwick got impaled during a trial fling yesterday,” Brunnez said. “He was pulling weeds and took three lionfish to the back and one to the thigh. They’re still picking spines out of him.”

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