Medieval Europe Comes To Florida In Annual 'Lion's Tourney'

Jul 24, 2018

Blade met shield recently as Tallahassee locals reenacted medieval combat in the annual Lion’s Tourney. The battlefield was the Wakulla County Community Gym. Here, rapiers clashed and arrows struck wooden targets, igniting an atmosphere reminiscent of Arthurian legend.

Adrianne Daggett shows off her armor in the Lion's Tournament (2018).
Credit Robbie Gaffney / WFSU TV

"It’s a rush…an adrenaline rush for sure,” says Adrianne Daggett, a state of Florida employee, who after hours, transforms herself into a medivial warrior complete with head to toe steel and woven armor that she makes herself.  

During the recent Lion’s Tournament the clash of weapons richocheted throughout the Wakulla County Community Center. Daggett along with other participants are part of the Society for Creative Anachronism, SCA. Members reenact different aspects of the medieval ages, from heavy combat with knightly armor to knitting.

“We don’t roleplay people from the period, we research the time and try as our club, we try to the best we can in modern stuff act out a day as if they would have lived it,” explains Charles Edmond the current Baron of Oldenfeld. He and his wife Holly Edmond are known in the SCA as the Barony of Oldenfeld.

“We focus on the good,” she says. “There were a lot of atrocities that occurred than too and we do not condone or celebrate any of that. You know, we have female knights and female fighters that never would have happened in period. So, we leave the misogyny, racism, and classism and plague and everything else behind. We don’t do any celebration of that but we do look at what people typically romanticize.”

The organization's history dates back to the 1960’s. What started as a costume party at the University of California-Berkley, has grown to a club with members across the world. To distinguish the different groups, georgraphic regions are loosely broken down into kingdoms with smalller areas within becoming baronies and provinces. Local chapters, according to the organization's wikipedia page, are known as shires, ports and cantons.

“You’re right now in the kingdom of Trimaris which is most of the state of Florida,” says Jay Louw who prefers to use his medieval name Octavio De Flores. He’s a longtime member of the SCA.

Octavio De Flores and his bow. (2018)
Credit Robbie Gaffney / WFSU TV

“A lot of the kingdoms are divided up into smaller groups called baronies and we have a barony right here in Tallahassee, the barony of Oldenfeld. So that’s why when you look at one of our events you’ll see that its Oldenfeld’s Lion’s Tourney.

Tournaments like this one are meant to provide a glimpse into medieval society and living, and for Daggett, an archaeologist and self-described history buff, it also provides a vehicle to friendship and meeting like-minded people.

“I’m into history and understanding cultures generally, and what got me into this organization was the 

Charles Edmond, known as the Baron of Oldenfeld, explains the Lion's Tournament. (2018)
Credit Robbie Gaffney / WFSU TV

fighting, but one of the things I loved most is the way different people in the organization reenact different geographic areas and different time periods,” she says.

“What brings everyone together is the draw to history and the love of recreating the dream. Even though it’s not medieval per se we really do elevate the chivalric code and ideals," says Charles Edmunds. "It is all about helping one another, just trying to be that person that most of us wish we could be in our real lives.  Everyone’s here to enjoy the same thing. You really do find lifelong friendships here and that’s what really keeps people coming back.”

*Correction: The spelling of Adrianne Daggett's name has been corrected. The history of the SCA has been corrected to reflect how the organization distinguishes different groups within.