Muskogee Festival Brings Renaissance England To Life

Sunday, May 17th 2009, 3:46 pm
By: News On 6

By Nicole Wiseman and Kyle Dierking,

MUSKOGEE, OK -- Imagine taking a step back in time and living in sixteenth-century Renaissance England in 1539.

Thousands of people are doing just that. They're taking a break from reality and escaping to the 14th Annual Oklahoma Renaissance Festival at the Castle of Muskogee.

The festival is for King Henry VIII. His sister, Queen Margaret of Scotland, as well as hundreds of vendors and entertainers are in attendance.

You don't even need a special invite to get into the one of a kind party.

"I can't believe I haven't been here before," said Lilly Quinn of Broken Arrow.

"It's a time to escape and go back to the Renaissance Period where you're learning and expanding your mind and having a good time and everything's festive and fun," said Matt Hiller of the Castle of Muskogee.

To the traditional festivities such as carriage rides, to the more unique, like the Queen's Tea and Birds of Prey show, there's no shortage of fun or of what you might see.

There's even an array of people and extravagant costumes. Those who dress up for the event say costumes enhance the experience.

"I'm interested in the gods and stuff, so I'm dressed as Athena," said Sage Quinn of Broken Arrow.

"Kids love to play dress-up and it's a time where adults can play dress-up again," said Alicia Gourd of Tahlequah.

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"It adds to the atmosphere and people look at you differently and it's a totally different experience when you dress the part," said Clay Newton of Tahlequah.

For Clay Newton, it's a family affair.  His family comes every year for the sights and the sounds of the Renaissance.

"Not many things to do in this area that you can take your whole family to," said Alicia Gourd.

Everyone's either putting on a show or working hard for the King.  The King's sister, Queen Margaret, even meets with all the children.

It takes a year of planning and more than 500 people to make the festival a success.

Actors say it's fun meeting people and playing a part.  They take their jobs seriously.  In fact, you may even leave with a new admirer.

"Everybody is making comments as you walk by.  They're treating you, (saying) 'my lady' and things like that and that's really awesome," said Lilly Quinn.

What would a festival be without food?  Turkey legs are a crowd pleaser.

"(A turkey leg) is wonderful.  It's hot, delicious and I'm probably going to take several home," said Lilly Quinn.

"It's a great experience to get to know the old days and how things use to work and how things are totally different from now," said Sage Quinn.

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