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Tamworth St George's Day Festival - Review

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by Tony Collins (subscribe)
I am a freelance writer specialising mainly in health and education and living in Staffordshire. Find me on Linked In
Medieval Jousting, Knights And A Dragon Do St George Proud
The sun shone down on St George as thousands of visitors flocked to Tamworth Castle Grounds to see Tamworth's St George's Day extravaganza. The Castle Grounds took a trip back in time to the days of medieval England on Saturday 22 April with loads of fun for the whole family seemingly dating back to the 12th century.

Tamworth St George's Day Festival
The St George's Day Festival took place in the shadow of Tamworth Castle

The St George's Day extravaganza, which took over Tamworth Castle Grounds for the whole day, included all the festival favourites that have made this annual event such a firm favourite with people not only across Staffordshire but also further afield. The 'star' of the St George's Day Festival was undoubtedly the two medieval jousting displays which took place on the lower lawn of the castle grounds, courtesy of the Knights of Middle England Jousting Team.

Tamworth St George's Day Festival
The knights clash during the medieval jousting in front of Lady Elizabeth

The lower lawn was transformed into a full-on jousting arena complete with jousting run, racks of lances, and various targets for the mounted knights to demonstrate their skills. The knights, which included St George himself, the Earl of Tamworth and the dastardly Black Knight, put on a great show under the direction of compere, Lady Elizabeth. The 45 minute show, with performances at both 12 noon and 3pm, culminated in a series of fiercely contested jousts between the mounted knights.

Tamworth St George's Day Festival
The jousting knights prepare to leave the arena

The lower lawn was also the setting for an 'arming the knight' demonstration as well as 'medieval skirmishes' involving a staged clash between two groups of foot soldiers who displayed the variety of weapons and combat methods used at the time. And the jousting arena, set beneath the shadow of the Castle Grounds bandstand, was also the setting for a medieval battle which brought the festival activities to a rousing close.

Tamworth St George's Day Festival
The foot soldiers who demonstrated a medieval skirmish

Away from the jousting arena visitors were able to enjoy a medieval living history encampment down on the lowest level of the castle grounds. The tented camp consisted of various demonstrations including sewing, cooking and medieval armour and weapons, while it was also home to the Beowulf Puppet Storytelling sessions which proved a firm draw for the younger children.

Tamworth St George's Day Festival
Part of the living history encampment

Young festival-goers were also able to take part in a variety of children' activities throughout the day ranging from archery and painting your own model shield to historical tales. Other entertainment and activities included a medieval fashion show, children's pottery-making workshops, a Medieval Grave Diggers Comedy, walkabout characters, Morris dancing by Pennyroyal Garland Dancers, water and land zorbing, bungee trampolines and a number of welcome food and drink stalls.

Tamworth St George's Day Festival
A display of medieval shields and other weapons

Although entry to the Tamworth Castle Grounds was entirely free there was a 3 a child entry to a separate Children's Zone which featured face painting, stocks, circus skills, magical dress up, knight classes, bouncy castles and inflatable slides. Also taking place at various times throughout the festival was the appearance of an interactive dragon which strolled around the upper lawn of the grounds where a number of stalls were present.

Tamworth St George's Day Festival
Some of the characters get ready for a demonstration

The annual festival, organised by Tamworth Borough Council's Arts & Events team, also featured a march by members of Tamworth Scouts who passed through the town centre in a St George's Day parade before arriving within the castle grounds for a renewing their promise ceremony. Activities within the grounds were supported by more medieval-themed fun inside Tamworth Castle itself with visitors invited to play historic games with Lady Freville, help the laundress clean clothes using medieval techniques, and learn about weapons and armour from the period. The event in Tamworth Castle was priced at 7.50 for adults, 6.50 concessions, 5 for children over five and 3 for children aged between two and four.

Tamworth St George's Day Festival
Another firm draw was the interactive dragon

Andrew Barratt, Tamworth Borough Council Corporate Director for Growth, Assets & Environment, said: "The St George's Day festival is one of the most popular events on our calendar and the Arts & Events team is always working hard to ensure it continues to grow and offer new attractions each year. With so much going on, it's easy to keep the whole family entertained for several hours with a variety of medieval-themed fun and games."
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Why? A Wonderful Feast Of Medieval Fun To Celebrate St George's Day
When: April 22, 2017
Phone: 01827 709618
Where: Tamworth Castle Grounds, Holloway, Tamworth B79 7NA
Cost: Free to enter, but 3 for the Children's Zone and up to 7.50 for the castle itself
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by Tony Collins on 23/04/2019
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