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Festival Celebrates Local Ties to 15th-Century Europe

by and on October 10, 2019 1:41 PM

This Columbus Day weekend, the fourth annual Olde Europe Renaissance Festival will celebrate Boalsburg’s local connection to the Europe of Christopher Columbus’s time, as history comes alive on the grounds of the Columbus Chapel and Boal Mansion Museum.

The Sunday, Oct. 13 event will take place from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. and will pay homage to the six European countries with strong ties to the Boal family — Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Scotland and Ireland.

An arts village will feature crafts from the era, including things like soap making, joinery and woodworking, pottery and felting. Many of the artists will offer demonstrations and hands-on opportunities for festival-goers of all ages. Guests can expect to find a wide variety of food and beverages on hand as well, from traditional Irish and Italian fare to locally brewed ales, and the public is invited to participate in a pie-eating contest.

Horse-drawn carriage tours of the 42-acre grounds will be provided by David Hershey and his award-winning percheron team. Entertainment will be offered on stage throughout the day and will include folk dancing and a traditional maypole dance by the Central PA Dance Workshop, traditional Irish dancing by Tir Na Nog Irish Dance Troupe, belly dancing by Black Cat Studio, and music by the Little German Band, Callanish Celtic Band and fiddler Bruce Young.

The local chapter of the Society of Creative Anachronism will add an air of authenticity to the event, as it will present armored medieval combat, archery and fencing demonstrations throughout the day.

“The SCA group will have weapons on display and they will be dressed in very traditional medieval garb,” said entertainment coordinator Holly Foy. “They study paintings and images of the garb of the time and use only the fibers that they did back then. It’s very authentic.”

The Boal Mansion Museum will be open for tours during the event, Foy said.

The tours take close to 90 minutes and show off the museum’s extensive collection of artifacts collected by eight generations of the Boal family, including 15th and 16th century sculptures and paintings, Christopher Columbus documents and relics, a large armory filled with weapons dating back to medieval times and even items from King Tut’s grandparents’ tomb.

Held rain or shine, the festival has been growing in popularity each year, attracting close to 500 families in 2018, according to Foy. Admission is free, with a $5 per car parking fee to support the live entertainment.

The Columbus Chapel and Boal Mansion Museum is located at 163 Boal Avenue. For more information, call (814) 574-2088.

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

Karen Walker
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