TNE Editor

Castle presents 22nd annual Oklahoma Renaissance Festival

Published 4/25/17

Roxanne Grabe

Contributing Writer

The Castle of Muskogee is preparing for the 22nd annual Renaissance Festival. The castle was built in 1995 and people wondered why the owner would want to build a castle in Muskogee.

“Apart from the obvious answer of ‘why not,’” said Jeff Hiller, steward of the Castle of Muskogee. “I’ve always been a business man who loves the community. I had a Montessori school in town and when the idea to build a place where kids and families can enjoy an unconventional way to learn and have fun.”

The renaissance festival is set in the 16th century in Castleton during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I and suitors from different countries have come to Castleton to offer marriage proposals to her during the May Fest.

The actors who play the queen, the suitors and other residents of castle are people from different parts of Oklahoma and other states.

“I’ve been doing both the renaissance faire and haunted castle for four years now,” said Justin Bishop, actor for the castle. “My best friend Shelbie invited me to the orientation because she wanted me to join her as cast. After she approached me about it I fell love with it all.”

Once a person signs up for cast, they will go through academies. These are a series of weekends where they learn how to speak in dialects, acting exercises, dancing, work on costuming and other lessons to prepare everyone for the festival.

“I wanted to become a better actress and a better person,” said Kenzie Bluford, actress for the castle. “Castle has really helped me out of my shell, teaching me to be more open and more confident.  I want to become a better dancer as well, since it’s the thing that made me want to join in the first place.”

The castle has different areas and events during the renaissance festival. There is the joust. Stage shows featuring the Musical Blades, Terra Nova Tribal, the Escapologist and more.

The areas of the castle have vendors and events to offer to the visitors. There is a children’s area in the castle called the Woodlands where children can come and see Peter Pan, fairies and make paper and marbles.

“My heart belongs to children,” said Kimberly Smith, peer and area leader of the Woodlands. “I can inspire, I can build and encourage children like in no other area. It’s in the look of wonder on a child’s face. The moment when a shy child opens up and begins to play. When I see a parent sitting in the sandbox or teaching the child to play chess. There is satisfaction in knowing I can give someone the gift of a happy memory.”

Tickets for the renaissance and events during the renaissance can be bought online on the castle’s website and discount tickets to the festival can be purchased at local Walgreen’s stores. The renaissance will run from the end of April, weekends in May and the first weekend of June. They will also be open for Memorial Day as well as a student day on a Friday in May.

Opening weekend is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on April 29 and 30 at the Castle of Muskogee.

For more information on events and prices, visit www.okcastle.com.

           

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