Association hosts medieval festival

Nobles and peasants intermingled over a dinner of roast chicken and medieval bread in the court of King Edward III, as the royal jester juggled and flipped across the floor for the amusement of all.

The scene could have taken place in an English castle ages ago, but it actually took place Saturday at the First Christian Church during the Northwest Colorado Homeschool Association banquet.

The Northwest Colorado Homeschool Association began about 15 years ago. The Moffat County School District estimates there are about 50 home-school families district-wide, but informal reports from parents indicate that number may be three times as high.

The movement started from a handful of families in the Craig area, but over the years, the group has become more organized and now, for $15 in annual dues, families participate in parties, events and field trips.

The home-school association hosts one event a month for home-school students, their families and friends, said Robin Lambert, a home-school mother who organized much of the banquet.

The events are always educational, Lambert said, with the goal of giving the children a chance to learn and socialize. This month, the Middle Ages were chosen because many of the students in the association are currently studying that time in history.

Many of the 50 to 60 guests that attended the dinner came dressed in period attire, and many portrayed individuals that lived during medieval times, such as King Edward III and Joan of Arc. The walls were covered with a stone wall backdrop and the tables were decorated with candles, flowers and goblets.

The home-school speech and drama class, a group of about 10 students that meets every Thursday afternoon, organized much of the entertainment, including skits, poems and games.

In the class, students deliver speeches and practice monologues. James Reiman, a student in the class, delivered the St. Crispin's Day speech by Henry V from Shakespeare's play.

Reiman said he believes the speech and drama class is the first interfamily class the home-school association has ever offered. The class had been working on the banquet since about October.

Most of the students in attendance appeared to be elementary age children. There were a dozen or so high school students present, and a few young adults who heard about the event through the church, such as the court jester, portrayed by Amber Gonzales, who is a friend of the Reiman family.

A religious undertone flowed through the entire event. Playing the jester, Gonzales recited John 3:16 in Spanish to a hearty round of applause. Heidi Reiman sang the hymn, "Be Thou My Vision," for the entertainment of those gathered, and the banquet closed with a prayer from Pastor Bryan Haynes and the singing of the doxology.

Many families home-school their children for religious reasons. In a previous interview, Lambert told the Craig Daily Press she home-schools her children because she wants "them to be raised in a faith-based environment."

But for the most part, the banquet was far from serious. One of the evening's highlights had to be the jousting competition. For lances, the students duct-taped a tennis ball to the butt of a hockey stick. For their mounts, they taped a stick horse to a stool on wheels. Then they rammed into each other and fought to the death with swords. Two fair damsels dragged the vanquished away.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or by e-mail at rgebhart@craigdailypress.com.

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