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Posted: January 22, 2018

Medieval Festival being featured on KSPS Spokane

By Michelle Forbes 

Airing January 25 at 8 p.m.

When word of a Medieval Festival reached Bill Fitzner at KSPS in Spokane, Washington, it piqued his interest.

Fitzner has worked with KSPS, PBS Spokane since 2001, and covers stories about places and topics of interest around the northwestern States and southwestern Canada. Aware of various Medieval Festivals, he wondered what brought word of a Medieval Festival in the small town of Kimberley, all the way to Spokane.

He was curious. KSPS had covered the Underground Mining Railway (November 26, 2015), but the Kimberley Medieval Festival was something new. And Fitzner decided to find out what had people talking about this particular festival clear down to Spokane.

The Kimberley Medieval Festival has been entertaining crowds at a free festival for three years now, and Fitzner came to join the 2017 crowds, to create a short documentary for his television audiences, to air on January 25 at 8 p.m., and will also be found online after the initial show airs. So what sets this festival apart? Here are what some of the re-enactors have to say.

Jay Clark, one of the long-standing members of the Sons of Fenrir, has been at the festival since the start. He remembers the reticence of the Sons of Fenrir to travel to Kimberley as Deryck Brown, then the Jarl (leader) of the group, pitched the idea. Brown had fallen in love with the area and potential of Kimberley when he came to check out the area, and look into the logistics of a festival in Kimberley.

Photos submitted

The Sons of Fenrir had another show in Gimli, Manitoba, a 13-hour car ride, the biggest Viking festival in Canada. Brown fought to make the Sons of Fenrir see the potential, pitching it as the new Gimli, where they could have free reign to showcase everything they could do. From a festival that almost didn’t happen, it has become their most anticipated show of the year, where they fight, craft, and eat very much anticipated authentic bread and baked goods from the Kimberley City Bakery. The Sons of Fenrir think it is a one of a kind festival, as well.

For Pierre Delionnet, Jarl of the Ulfhednar Vikings in Kelowna, the festival is all about family – the families that come to visit the festival, and the feeling of family that is created among the re-enactors at the festival. Delionnet says the Viking re-enactors are welcomed to Kimberley by the audiences, the event coordinators, and businesses, in what he calls “Norse hospitality at its finest.”

He describes the events and stories that come out of the festival as “the stories of legend” that will be told around the fire  for years to come. While the festival has grown substantially, the pull of the festival is just as great for Delionnet and his group as the first year he attended with the Sons of Fenrir.

The picturesque setting, the sense of community, and interaction from the event coordinators, Michelle and Eric Forbes (with their bakery goods from The Kimberley City Bakery), are some of the things that set it apart for Kayla Rusnell of Munnin’s Saga, Viking re-enactors from Edmonton. “I’ll never forget how the Forbes went above and beyond with the Viking birthday cake they made for Gullin,” Rusnell said. The festival also holds a special place for Munnin’s Saga, as it was their first show after they formed their current group.

The Fighters of the Feral Fang, who train in Medieval Combat in Cranbrook, formed after the second year of the festival, where they took up one of the knights who said, “If anyone is crazy enough to want to do this, come talk to us after the fight.” They did, and their group was born. While they travel to fight in Alberta, Kimberley is their home fight field, and they enjoy coming together for their home field advantage.

The Kimberley City Bakery Medieval Festival is going into its fourth and final year.

“This was never meant to turn into an annual event,” said Bakery owner Eric Forbes. “It was only supposed to be one-year-for-something-different-to-do.”

But with its growth each year, it has far exceeded Forbes’ expectations, and they have decided that they will send it off with one final amazing year. To do so, they are looking for vendors and sponsors, with forms available on their website.

In the meantime, learn more about the Kimberley Medieval Festival on January 25, on KSPS (PBS Spokane) at 8 p.m. MST on Northwest Profiles to see a visitor’s view of what makes Kimberley, the Kimberley Medieval Festival, and of course, the bakery, worth the trip.

Be sure to tune in.

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