Another year and another faire is right around the corner…the 2018 Brooks Medieval Faire will celebrate its 15th year. From humble beginnings in a park as a fundraiser for the local library, to the bustling showcase of history that it has become, it’s been a wild ride.
Over the span of 15 years, different people and different organizations have come and gone, each one lending their creativity and their vision to build the faire into a place where history could come alive and people could come together to have good family fun. Where they could learn something new and be entertained by all of the amazing people who come together for this one wonderful weekend.
This year is no different, as a new board and a new team have come together to bring a fresh new vision to the faire. It has been a year of making new friends, learning new skills and discovering new things that we can use to make this faire all that we know it can be. We have found barriers we never expected, found solutions that have astounded us and have met some of the most amazing people anyone could ever hope to be involved with.
We’re looking forward to growing with the people, the groups and the City of Brooks as this faire moves forward into a new chapter. We view the word “change” as being more aligned with the notion of “evolution” and we can’t wait to see how people move forward in that evolution. We hope we will see the Brooks Medieval Faire become larger, more amazing (is that even possible?) and more diverse. We hope to capture imaginations, tickle funnybones and bring people out to see the largest medieval gathering in all of western Canada.
We are so blessed to be doing what we do and we are looking forward to sharing our sense of fun and adventure.
We have recently received our Concept walkthrough plans that were put together by Alberta Stonemasons Council. As these are the initial concept and first draft of the site these plans are subject to change and with any large scale building operation this is an integral part of the evolution of the site.
The settlement is based on the La Couvertoirade commune in the Aveyron department in southern France.
This well-preserved fortified town was owned by the Knights Templar, under orders from the Commandery of Sainte-Eulalie, from the twelfth century. The Templars built the fortress there during the 12th and 13th centuries; its two upper floors have since been removed. Following their dissolution in 1312, the Templars’ property in the causses was taken by the Knights of St John of Jerusalem who were responsible for building the curtain wall at La Couvertoirade between 1439 and 1450.
Like other Larzac villages, the population fell rapidly in the 19th century, to as few as 362 by 1880. Today, it is largely inhabited by craftsmen working with enamel, pottery, weaving and similar crafts.
AMS is founded upon three pillars: education, respect and inclusion. Further to those goals, we have developed a new “Experience Enhancement Program”. This is open to individuals, agencies and groups that work with anyone who has a disability and who may find it cost-prohibitive to be able to go out and enjoy some of the amazing events and/or sites that can be found in Alberta.
Purpose of the program: to make it easier for those who have barriers to enjoying outings, so they can come out and have an enjoyable experience with all the supports they may require.
What are we offering? If you require an aide or support in order to go out, we will offer free entry to support workers so that participants can fully enjoy any of our events. This year (2018) will include the Brooks Medieval Faire, but as AMS grows, other events will be added to our list. When the settlement site is ready to be open to the public, this program will be extended to the site itself and any programing that the site offers.
Who is eligible? Anyone who has a barrier that would impact their ability to visit events such as the Brooks Medieval Faire or other, similar, events. Individuals, support groups, agencies and others are free to contact us to make arrangements. There is no age limitation. We will ask that anyone who wishes to participate in this program should contact us to make arrangements so that we can make sure we are ready for you at the gate. We can be reached via email at email@example.com
There should be no barrier to experiences that teach us where we came from. Everyone should have the ability to see, hear, feel and interact with living history. We will always strive to make our sites and events as accessible as we are able, and we encourage input from our visitors. We want everyone to feel welcome and supported when they come to see us.
We are often asked the question: “Where did the idea for Alberta Medieval come from?”
The answer is a bit of a story.
I was young in the St. Lawrence seaway area. Everywhere one turned, there was the evidence of history. The history of the First Nations, the history of English and French explorers. The history of growing pains as a new nation found its feet and began to define itself. Upper Canada Village was less than an hour away and I can recall many trips and experiences there.
But the real foundation of a dream came during teenage years in Nova Scotia.
Fortress Louisbourg was not far from home for us and we made many visits to this amazing site. I am in my fifties now, but I still remember the impact that the staff and experiences at the Fortress left me.
I still remember the sound of the shuttle on the loom and the feel of the tension of the warp. I remember how it felt when the tools were placed in my hands and, suddenly, I was carding raw wool. I recall the smell (not the most pleasant!!) of the wool being washed and dyed. I felt that I could clearly imagine what it was like to live during that time. It sparked a love, not only of history, but of weaving that remains to this day.
It was not so long ago, it seems, that I learned about Guedelon Castle, in France. Now, as an adult, I could look back upon a lifetime around historical reenactors, historians and hobbyists. All of the skills that I had acquired over the course of a life-time almost seemed to have been a path that lead to this place. Together with other members of a dedicated team, we could bring a love of hands-on learning to a whole new generation. We could bring history to life.
We can do that.
We have Alberta know-how. We are Alberta strong. We are Alberta creative.
It didn’t need to be someone else’s dream. It didn’t need to be something happening in another country.