There’s one weekend in July where people crawl out of their blankets and brave the cold in medieval dress: Winterfest!
On the 5th and 6th of July, hundreds of people will gather at the Parade Ground at Old King’s School, Parramatta to create a place that sends you back to Medieval times. Bands playing traditional and hand-made instruments including the medieval harp and Celtic drum create a festive atmosphere. There are various shops to search for something historical to take home. You might be tempted by a piece of unique, hand-made jewellery, woodcraft, a cloak or dress. You can even try on a suit of armour. There are plenty of hot and delicious foods to keep you satisfied as you wander around. But the best part of the festival is the activities you can do and watch. You can try your hand at archery (which is not nearly as easy as it looks), then you can head over to watch a sword display. There is also the Full Flight Birds of Prey display, where trained falcons soar just above the crowd.
The highlight of the day is the Knights of Winterfest Tournament Joust. Yes, a real jousting competition on horseback with professional jousters! This year’s returning champion is Andrew Beattie from Sydney. He has competed at events nationally and represented Australia in international tournaments. He has his eye on L. Dale Walter from the United States as the one to beat.
Don’t worry if you don’t have any medieval garb, everyone is welcome. The event goes from 10am to 5pm each day. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for concession. If you pre-pay early online you can save 20 per cent, so head to http://www.ticketebo.com.au/Winterfest-medieval-faire/winterfest-2014.html.
The place is relatively easy to get to. It is approximately a ten minute walk to the site from Parramatta Station.
For more information check out the Winterfest website: http://www.winterfest.com.au/