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From medieval jousting to a smoke-breathing dragon
Thousands of people took advantage of the brilliant Easter weekend sunshine to flock to the Tamworth Castle Grounds in Staffordshire for a feast of medieval fun. The fabulous weather brought visitors out in their droves for the free St George's Day Festival 2019 held beneath the walls of historic Tamworth Castle. The St. George's Day extravaganza, which took place on Saturday 20 April, is now in its 11th year, and is an event definitely not to be missed even if you have been to the splendid Castle Grounds on each of the previous 10 occasions.
Medieval jousting in the shadow of Tamworth Castle
The free programme of medieval-themed fun for the whole family ran throughout the day from 10am until 5pm, with an exciting new line-up of entertainment seemingly attracting record crowds to the castle grounds situated within the centre of the town of Tamworth. The crowds included lots of young children, freshly broken up for the Easter school holidays, with many of them waving or simply carrying St George flags. At the heart of the activities is an authentic looking medieval encampment, with people in costume demonstrating everything from cooking to the weapons of the day, which visitors are encouraged to wander through.
Further activities could be found on the Upper Lawn of the castle with, perhaps, more of an emphasis on young visitors. These included a variety of medieval games as well as having a go at archery. There were also a couple of appearances by a smoke-breathing dragon to the St George's Day festival. Further afield there were also fairground rides and children's activities to keep the youngsters entertained, while a number of food stalls were available to keep the crowds replenished throughout the day.
St George shows off his horse riding skills
But the main fun and excitement was taking place on the Lower Lawn which was turned into a jousting arena for the occasion. This witnessed the return of the Grand Medieval Joust which was presented for the first time by the Cavalry of Heroes. The crowds were tightly packed in every vantage point, including across the river, as the four mounted knights, led by St George himself, entered the arena on their magnificent horses. They then proceeded to demonstrate their riding skills and tricks before embarking on a series of exciting jousts dressed in their shining armour that gleamed brightly in the sunshine. The jousting arena was also the setting for a number of other activities, ranging from a medieval ball game and falconry demonstrations to a medieval court re-enactment, arming a knight, and culminating in a grand battle that brought the day to an exciting close.
Organised by Tamworth Borough Council's Arts & Events team, the St George's Day festival also enabled visitors to enjoy Tamworth Castle itself, and not just as a vantage point to see the jousting and battle from the ramparts. The castle hosted a number of medieval-themed activities, including historic games, learning how to clean clothes using medieval techniques, and learning about weapons and armour from the period.