News: Neillsville (16 May 2005)

Transcriber:  Crystal Wendt

----Source: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, Wood County, Wis.) Mon, May 16, 2005

Neillsville goes medieval County fairgrounds hosts Dark Ages festival

By Matt Ollwerther; Marshfield News-Herald

NEILLSVILLE - Some people who think they don't mix well with others in today's world have found a place and society that transcends time.

Few called Kristen Radtke, a University of Wisconsin-River Falls student, by her real name Saturday at The Society for Creative Anachronism's Northshield Third Annual Crown Tournament at the Clark County Fairgrounds.

Surrounded by people wearing medieval costumes, she was known as Kristin Leifsdottir to the 400 others who attended the daylong event.

Anachronism is defined as "a person or a thing that is chronologically out of place, especially one from a former age that is incongruous in the present" by the Merriam-Wester dictionary.

Cultures represented at SCA events range from Aztec to European to Japanese. Eras from 600 to 1600 are represented at the gatherings. The event was hosted by The Shire of Shattered Oak based in Eau Claire. The SCA is nonprofit group founded in California in the mid-1960s. "This is one of the biggest events in the kingdom," said Radtke. "You get people from all walks of life." A group of medieval merchants gathered between buildings was selling a selection of swords, bows, goblets, jewelry and clothing. Vibrant clothing was commonplace, as were dresses for women and leggings on men.

People darting to and from rooms would bow to royalty, while explaining proper etiquette to newcomers. People came from as far as Ontario, Michigan and North Dakota.

A few locals donned the appropriate garb to enter yesteryear.

"It's fascinating," said Shirley Anderson, of Neillsville at one of her first SCA events. The range of interests represented was broad and engaging, she said.

She pointed to infants and young children - often dressed in medieval garb - and said they will have a big jump on history over their peers.

Her daughter Kristine and her mother also attended the event, making it a three-generation affair.

SCA officials work hard to ensure that their efforts are grounded in reality.

"We're not fantasy," Meg Hofmeister said, pointing out a room without elves. "This is a research group as well as an re-enactment group." Weapons used by the warriors in Saturday's tournament are weighed and balanced for maximum historical accuracy. Ten warriors walked around the buildings, armor clanking and leather squeaking. They were scheduled for a tournament through afternoon, with the winner being crowned king.

Other activities included a silent auction, an arts and sciences display and a feast that wrapped up the night.

Many SCA members make their own clothing and arts and science crafts with modern amenities, Jen Hebert said. But she added some go as far as manufacturing historically correct tools, then making "period" materials or clothing.

Most SCA characters remained in character the entire day, but occasionally flashes from digital cameras would light a room, cell phones would ring or someone would yell, "Where's my car?"

Matt Ollwerther can be reached at 384-3131, at 800-967-2087, ext. 358, or at For more information go to and click on today's Web links.



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