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Go Gothic at the family-friendly Riverhead Medieval Festival

An knight will battle in full body armor

An knight will battle in full body armor with sword and shield, re-enacting medieval combat at the Riverhead Medieval Festival. Photo Credit: Nassau County Dept. of Parks

This event has been canceled.

Riverhead gets a real-life taste of “Game of Thrones” this weekend (minus the gore) with a two-day Gothic medieval festival straight out of the Gothic era.

“It’s a very colorful and romantic period,” says Bob Fox, president of Medieval Scenarios and Re-creations, the nonprofit re-enactment group putting on the event. “I want people to feel as if they are experiencing a little portion of medieval life and learn a bit about the era.”

Here’s a host of activities in the Kingdom of Acre to embrace for a trip through the Middle Ages:


See 500 years of costume history in 45 minutes at a medieval fashion show of more than two dozen outfits.

“It shows the advance in technology with greater tailoring and increased skill with weaving through the years,” says fashion show host Rose Larrabee-Fox. “People don’t realize how much of what we wear today was influenced by something that was developed centuries ago.”


Watch knights go to battle in full body armor with a sword and a shield as they re-enact medieval combat right on site.

“These are competitions that are not choreographed,” says Fox. “Fighters are trained to understand how hard they would have to get hit for it to be considered a killing blow. However, we are not actually trying to kill each other. It doesn’t get too intense.”


Catch professional archers shoot at targets then try your hand at the sport with five arrows for $2.

“We have experienced archers who will teach brief lessons on how to shoot a bow and arrow,” says event coordinator Ilana Mele. “The archer will help you choose a bow, show you the appropriate positioning and help you shoot your arrows at whatever targets you choose.”


Hold and feel real armor up close made by professional armorer Jeff Wasson, who builds full suits of armor weighing 40-65 pounds for re-enactors, museums and Hollywood productions.

“People can look at them and handle them up close,” says Wasson. “They usually are surprised to learn that armor is more complicated than they think it is.”


The ladies of the Middle Ages perform this pagan ritual of parade around the pole with multicolored ribbons to make a checkerboard pattern as a male sacrifice stands in the center.

“It’s celebrates the return of good weather and, to a certain extent, fertility,” says Larrabee-Fox. “It’s all about greenery. Ladies wear wreathes of flowers.”


Cheer on the horsemen as they ride with a lance in hand showcasing their talents in games of skill.

“The rider will charge down a line where on top of several posts are cabbage heads,” says Fox. “They set the horse on its course and try to strike the first cabbage head and then be in the on-guard position as they get to the second, third and fourth.”


Young children can get in on the festivities at the children’s joust, where each child rides on a hobby horse with a toy lance knocking over various targets. There’s also a small catapult available used to shoot balls at a target, and daring children can “Fight a Knight” for $2.


Catch a variety of performers, including a juggler, stilt walker, lutenist, bagpiper and belly dancers. Then wander over to the marketplace, where 15 vendors will sell medieval-inspired goods such as polymer clay jewelry, fantasy accessories, embroidered decor, handmade soap, leather journals and wooden toys such as swords, shields, bows and arrows.

Refreshments will be 21st century with a court of food trucks, including Mr. Frosty, Old Thyme BBQ and Eat Me, Drink Me Grilled Cheese.


WHEN | WHERE Noon-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, June 10 and 11, at Dorothy P. Flint 4-H Campground, 3186 Sound Ave., Riverhead


ADMISSION $10 ($5 ages 5-12)

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