People may have wondered about the tents and banners that periodically appear for a couple of days on Crawford Avenue across from Delta's Wal-Mart.
The encampments are local "festivals" associated with Renaissance Fairs that take place in many locations.
These Delta versions of a Renaissance Fair are the product of a local family that has found their passion in family history links to the cultural heritage and traditions.
"A lot of families sit around and watch TV. We spend our time doing this," explained John Harvey of Delta as he gestured towards the tents, tabernacles, and tapestries that set the stage for his family's Renaissance Fair celebrations. Streaming in the breeze above the scene were a collection of colorful banners, some bearing patriotic mottoes: "Don't Tread on Me."
Harvey has traced his family history back to the Celtic clans of the British Isles. There, he has found a remarkable kinship with the cultural artifacts and traditions commonly associated with times of the Renaissance (14th to 17th century) and even further back into the European past than that.
Harvey is married to someone who also takes her family history seriously. Brenda Soluna (Gonzalez) proudly claims family ancestors "with nine generations on American soil." And she, too, has found an expression of her enthusiasm for cultural roots in the Renaissance Fair tradition.
Together with their children, the couple have formed a local "gild." They have been joined by a couple of dozen others who also enjoy the fun, learning, and role-playing of Renaissance Fairs.
Brenda explains that their gild, known as Taliesin's Bardocc Free Traders, stages its historical re-enactments with an emphasis on the "Druidic and bardic" aspects of Medieval and Renaissances culture.
A sister organization in Grand Junction, the Azure Rose Gild, has an emphasis on the Code of Chivalry and courtly manners from days of Knights of the Round Table.
In honor of May Day, the Taliesin's Bardocc Free Traders staged a re-enactment at the family home on Crawford Avenue. Their special guests for the day were students from the Surface Creek Vision Program, where Brenda teaches math in the Launch Program (grades 9-12).
Students, parents, and staff of the Vision Program enjoyed an educational and fun end-of-year experience at the Fair on April 29.
Students played games for fun and games of martial skill. There was a bean bag toss, ring toss, a caber toss heaving heavy logs, and other activities that entertained the kids as they warmed to the new surroundings and feelings of the event.
There were tests of the knightly fighting spirit with archery, spear throwing, and other skills.
There was music and song, period costume dress, a "tavern" serving up refreshments, a museum display of period-style artifacts, a fire pit, and a throne room where knighthoods were conferred by a noble lady and boy king in the best traditions of the Chivalric code.
Young Dylan Signs, a preschooler who lives in Cedaredge became Sir Dylan the Blue upon his oath, publicly affirmed, to uphold all things good and right.
Students danced around the May Pole as might have been doneby Druid celebrants at rites of the spring equinox in the shadow of Stonehenge during ages past.
The Taliesin's Bardocc Free Traders travel during the year and participate with other gilds and groups. Brenda Soluna said their guild is planning to stage the local re-enactments in coordination with solar cycles of solstice and equinox about every six weeks.
John Harvey said they eventually would like to find a larger venue for their Renaissance Fair festivals.
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