Next weekend, Colorado can have a chance to mingle with knights, enjoy some live-action jousting and enjoy sips of medieval gruid as the Colorado Medieval Festival returns to Loveland’s Savage Woods.
The organizers of Loveland’s annual festival said attendees also shouldn’t be surprised if this year’s festival has something of a different look from years prior — complete with activities that may seem to have been taken directly out of the medieval past.
Kitty Wild, who owns the Savage Woods and puts on the festival with her husband, said the changes and additions are part of an effort to create a Loveland-centric event and one that stands out from the much larger Renaissance Festival held each summer in Larkspur near Colorado Springs.
“We’ve got magic acts coming, local belly dancers, princesses and fairies,” said Wild. “So it’s kind of a sci-fi fantasy medieval-ish festival.”
Still, the medieval aspect will remain central to the event that will feature knight fights where combatants don medieval armor and battle each other with axes and other weapons, along with choreographed jousting, which continues to be a major draw to the festival, said Wild. Members of Colorado Springs’ Ironside Medieval Combat will engage in the knight fights while the jousting will be performed by Knights of the Tempest, a theatrical medieval equestrian group based in Fort Collins.
Some new additions to the festival will include a traveling butterfly exhibit where attendees can feed butterflies with a stick and the festival’s first-ever cosplay competition where participants can compete under the categories medieval, love, villain and time-travel.
Another new event, The Great Lego Hunt of 2019, will have participants completing challenges in exchange for Legos at various vendors’ sites. The collected Legos then will be added to the festival’s Lego creation, likely a castle, Wild said.
“We are going to take photos and see what it ends up looking like over the weekend,” Wild said. “We have no idea, but it’s going to be fun.”
Wild and the event’s organizers are also leaning on the horror connections they have made from running their Creepy Walk in the Woods haunted attraction each October to incorporate some “creepy stuff” into the festival, including a Davy Jones locker maze that will be haunted with monsters and a sideshow that will feature snake handlers and other curiosities.
The new offerings represent what Wild described as an effort to “try everything” she thinks the festival’s audience will appreciate, even if the offerings aren’t always exactly “period correct.”
“We find that in running this, we have a lot of people who say that about certain things,” said Wild. “Well, porta-potties are not period correct either. And the regulations that come down from the health department are definitely not period correct. So we are embracing not period correct.”
Still, the festival will maintain a “period-correct” atmosphere, thanks to vendors selling everything from honey and cutting boards to classical renaissance and medieval dresses. Wild said although the festival will feature vendors from around the state, she always places a particular focus on bringing in local vendors from Loveland and its surrounding communities.
“We’ve got jewelry, we’ve got potions and we’ve even got a girl that sells period boots,” said Wild. “So if you get really into it and want to make your cosplay very serious, you can get a custom pair of boots to go with your outfit.”
Beer, cider and mead from local breweries, including a traditional medieval gruid produced by Loveland’s Buckhorn Brewers, will round out the medieval experience.
One thing that will be missing from this year’s event is the Highland Games, which were already scheduled to be held in Cheyenne. The festival’s organizers had to change the date of the festival to comply with new county regulations regarding events held at Savage Woods. However, the games will be back in 2020, Wild said, and this year’s festival will still include demonstrations by past competitors.
But while the festival continues to evolve, Wild said much of its appeal is the result of the classic elements that have been a part of the festival since its beginning.
“It’s a day in the sun, it’s nice to go out and have a beer and a turkey leg. Do some shopping and some fighting and meet an odd variety of people,” she said. “Plus, we have a phenomenal view of Devil’s Backbone.”
If You Go
What: Colorado Medieval Festival
When: 3-8 p.m. June 7, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. June 8
Where: The Savage Woods, 1750 Savage Road, Loveland
Cost: $13 adults; $8 children 6-12, children five and under free
More Info: coloradocastle.com