During a recent weekend Crescenta Valley Park hearkened back to the days of ladies and lords, knighthood and a Camelot-type kingdom.
Members of the Society for Creative Anachronism created a world where kings and queens are respected and revered, battles are fought by honorable men and women and civility is key. For a fee of $5 for members, $8 non-members, visitors could stroll through the park to see how those in the Renaissance age lived and witness their battle competitions.
The society is an international organization that began in 1966 when some friends in Berkeley got together for a big outdoor party. According to the society's website, the invitation stated that a tournament would be held and summoned â€œall knights to defend in single combat the title of 'fairest' for their ladies.â€ Thus began the society that is filled with history buffs and science fiction/fantasy fans.
The Society for Creative Anachronism has divided each area of the world into kingdoms. Southern California is known as CAID and is presently ruled by His Majesty Edward Senestre and Her Majesty Mora de Buchanan.
Make no mistake; this is not a re-enactment group that chooses an episode of history to perform. They are reliving, for the most part, a period of history. The organization is dedicated to the arts, skills and traditions of pre-17th-century Europe. Members learn about the lives of people who lived in this era, from how they dressed to what they ate and how the hierarchy worked, including the art of combat.
â€œIt's a great time and a fun way to learn of [early] Western civilization,â€ said Bjo Trimble.
She and her husband John have been members for many years and enjoy the camaraderie between members.
The Trimbles are well known in the world of science fiction as the driving force to keep the original Star Trek series on the air. After two years, the television show created by Gene Roddenberry was scheduled to be canceled until the couple began their campaign. The show was saved for another year.
â€œIn those days they would not syndicate a show that didn't have three seasons,â€ John said.
It was in syndication that fans discovered Star Trek and made the show into the phenomenon it now is.
Many members of the society have a background in science fiction and the film industry but others are educators, scientists and professionals. It is the love of history that bind them.
After becoming a member, each individual chooses his or her society name. It can be of a real person that lived in that age or one that is created by the member.
Lady Rosamund Ryghtwys chose her name from 14th century England. Her name outside the society is Laura Dean. As the members were sitting up at Crescenta Valley Park, Ryghtwys was busy preparing the food for the event. She is working on her master's degree in history with a concentration on the foods of the middle ages.
â€œ[Specifically], studying how food affected [the lives of people],â€ Ryghtwys explained.
She said that many of the upper class, or those with more wealth, were not as healthy as the poorer section of the population.
â€œIf you had money, you ate lots of meat. The peasants ate more vegetables and grains,â€ she said.
This attention to detail extended not only to clothing but also in the way members addressed each other. â€œMy ladyâ€ and â€œMy lordâ€ could be heard around the park, accompanied by bows as members passed on the lawn.
Respect was also key when it came to combat like when the King's Champion Count Sven (Kurt Kinsinger) was doing battle.
An arena was set aside where knights and others doing battle dressed in armor with swords, pole-arms and spears. Members fought one another for title and in training. The weapons may have been replicas of swords and pole-arms but the blows were not lessened as Sven demonstrated with one challenger after another.
For the most part, the members of the society said they enjoyed the family atmosphere and love of history and that friendships forged in this creative society were friends for life.
For information on the Society for Creative Anachronism, visit their web- site at www.sca.org.