RM OF SPRINGFIELD — Cooks Creek transformed into a medieval village of more than 3,000 people Saturday as the biennial medieval festival took place for the sixth time.
The festival saw the Ukrainian Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception and grotto transformed into a castle, and its grounds into a market and jousting fields where attendees could buy traditional garb and watch knights fight each other.
Scott Chabluk, one of the organizers of the event, said it started out as an idea by church members about 12 years ago. Since then, every event has gotten progressively larger.
"When you look around the grounds, and particularly the grotto, it looks like an old medieval castle. It looks like it was meant to host this event," Chabluk said.
Some took it as an opportunity to show off their medieval outfits — valiant knights, sorcerers and medieval maidens casually wandered around the festival. The opportunity to dress up is a big draw for some people, Chabluk said.
"We have groups that take this quite seriously." Kory McJannet came dressed completely in leather gear he made on his own over the course of a winter. McJannet also uses the costume for his live-action role-playing troupe, but he noted the work he put into it wasn’t as challenging as people would expect.
"Instead of sitting around watching Netflix, you sit around watching Netflix and making armour," he said.
The grotto on the grounds benefits from the festival, as some of the money the festival makes will go toward needed repairs to the grotto’s structure, Chabluk said, which he estimated at costing about $250,000.
Others came to instill a love of the medieval in the next generation. Chris Schellenberg came with his children, four-year-old Kai and eight-year-old Maya. Schellenberg said his love of all things medieval was one of the biggest reasons the family came out.
"It’s probably me. My brother and sister smirk every time I get into that, but I want to pass it on to the kids," Schellenberg said.
"We’re already planning to come back in two years, in full costume," he said.
Jousting occurred throughout the day, with competitors from as far away as Australia competing against the usual Calgary jousters on the field. Earlier in the day, one of the jousters was thrown off a horse and suffered a concussion as well as a broken collarbone, but the jousting continued with the rest of the competitors.