News

Knights performance combines education and entertainment

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

Kirk Wood of Toronto and T.J. Duquette of Sudbury fight to the death as part of the Knights of Valour Full Contact Jousting show Friday at the Norfolk County Fairgrounds. Local students got a first-hand medieval experience before a public jousting tournament held later in the day. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer

Kirk Wood of Toronto and T.J. Duquette of Sudbury fight to the death as part of the Knights of Valour Full Contact Jousting show Friday at the Norfolk County Fairgrounds. Local students got a first-hand medieval experience before a public jousting tournament held later in the day. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer

SIMCOE - 

Local students were taken on a trip back in time Friday.

Youngsters got a first-hand look at ancient warriors battling for the heart of the crowd atop mighty steeds as the Knights of Valour Full Contact Jousting show invaded the Norfolk County Fairgrounds.

The program also included demonstrations by the Canadian Raptor Conservancy and a modern day blacksmith.

“It's fun,” said Elmira native Lori Tobey, a member of the Knights of Valour crew. “It's a really good educational show for them to learn. We expanded our curriculum (recently) because the schools expanded theirs. Now we throw in a little bit more of Alexander the Great and bring it right up to the heavy armour (era).”

With Knights of Valour captain/owner Shane Adams serving as emcee, the crowd was captivated as gladiators named Titus and Maximus battled tooth and nail. Knights hand picked to represent the king and queen also took centre stage in an all-out jousting slugfest. When the two remained perched atop their horses after taking three full-speed runs at one another, the conflict continued on the ground with swords.

The reaction from the students, said Tobey, is similar at each Knights of Valour show.

“They love it,” she said. “The knights try to get all hyped up and get the kids hyped up – (we) have a lot of fun doing it.”

“Some of (the kids) have never seen knights, some of them have never seen horses this big.”

A handful of students played a key part in the proceedings. A select few were chosen to sit in the 'King's Court' - a prime seating area akin to what Caesar and his entourage experienced in Rome.

Playing the role of princesses within the King's Court were Madi Carter and Jade Pole of Delhi Public School.

“We were sitting up on the bleachers and saying 'hello' in an accent and we started talking to one of the helpers and she asked us some questions,” Carter explained.

“I loved when the knights were jousting, that was really cool.”

Since 1997, Knights of Valour has performed for dozens of audiences in both Canada and the US. Friday's educational show and later a jousting tournament for the public, marked the group's first visit to the Norfolk Fairgrounds since 2012.

“It was delightful,” Pole said. “We had a great time.”

jrobinson@postmedia.com