Days of yore without the gore

Medieval Festival ideal tonic for those craving a Game of Thrones fix

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Knights in shining armour, damsels in distress await festival-goers.


You've seen Game of Thrones, or at least been bombarded by it - now step into a real-life medieval world at Abbeystowe.

This year marks the 30th anniversary for Caboolture's Abbey Medieval Festival, which provides an authentic medieval experience for families and Westeros junkies alike.

The most recognised element of the festival is the Tournament Weekend - July 13-14 - with a variety of medieval battle-style tournaments including everything from archery and jousting to Turkish oil wrestling and sword fighting.

"The draw of the festival has only increased in the last few years, with television shows such as Game of Thrones and Vikings inviting a whole new crowd to experience the Middle Ages," said Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology director Edith Cuffe.

"While shows like Game of Thrones and Vikings may not be historically accurate, they've encouraged a whole new generation of medieval lovers who want to come and experience a slice of their favourite medieval-inspired fantasy world, with some of them loving it so much they've joined a re-enactment society."

Museum education manager Melanie DeRegt said that as well as being fun, the week "inspires curiosity into the world of knights in shining armour and damsels in distress, and helps children to understand the differences between fairytales and actual history".

This year's festival includes the Medieval Banquet, with live entertainment and a grand medieval feast, in addition to the Kids Dig It! Medieval Family Fun week - July 1-5.

The festival is the largest fund-raiser for the Abbey Museum of Art and Archaeology, and is organised mostly by a team of volunteers.

Some have been involved for years. "I recall coming to the festival with my family and having the time of my life," Wade Smoothy said. "I tried on armour too large, held a sword too heavy and made memories larger than life that I will treasure for the rest of my life,"

The first festival was held next to St Michael's church and had only 300 re-enactors and attendees; last year's was held in the dedicated Abbeystowe site and numbered almost 25,000.