St. George’s Day celebrations at Wrest Park in Bedfordshire is the biggest in the country. And I knew I HAD to go! I was so pleased when my Dad came and picked us up to go on Saturday I was bouncing with excitement. I’ve always had a strong passion for our country’s history and anywhere that has historical actors, cooking displays, battle reenactments and horses is my kinda place. That morning our electricity had gone off at 5am and still wasn’t on by half 10, when we were set to leave! I am quite proud to say that I managed to get myself, a 6 week old baby and my partner out of the house, without even a drop of coffee in my system. A-maze-ing.
We arrived at Wrest Park about 12ish and to my surprise it was not as busy there as I thought. (Maybe due to the entry price???) I had mentally prepared (and panicked) for mass crowds, muddy fields and no tea tent. But was presently surprised to find that I was wrong about all this. There weren’t as many people there that I had imagined, the grass was adequately moisturized, and there was a massive tea room (that even sold beer for the dads!) We had a fantastic time in the medieval section learning all about the manufacture of medieval weapons, how they cooked, made clothes and even about medieval reading glasses. We even watched some very hands-on demonstrations about all of these. We went with my dad, his friend, her friend, her daughter and her friend! The children had a fantastic day and throughly enjoyed watching all the displays and learning loads. My dad enjoyed the falconry as he himself has worked as a falconer. Jay loved the cross-bow shooting and rune stall and I loved the jousting! My dads friend Tina and myself really enjoyed all the pretty jewelry and clothing stalls. Some sold the most beautiful flowery head bands and tailored corsets. Secretly I also loved the stunt horse-rider participating in the jousting. I thought I was keeping it a secret until I was in the front row, preparing to throw my bra at him and screaming like and wild, savage Elvis fan!
At 3pm it was time to watch St. George slay the mighty dragon. This was a fantastic and quite funny show performed with the medieval re-enactors playing the villagers of ‘Little Piddlin On-The-Green’ , beautiful horses and a man in what looked like a rather sweaty dragon costume. It was extremely well done and the crowd loved it. I watched the kids faces in the audience and I truly believe a few children honestly thought it was the best thing they had ever seen in their little lives ever!
The rain held off right until the end of the day and it only started once we sat down in the tea rooms. But oh, not rain. It was hail. And a lot of it! On a spur-of-the-moment decision, I grabbed Tina’s daughters wrist, and ran…. ran right outside into the hail storm and around the building. Just for fun.
The whole day was fun. I seriously can’t wait now until English Heritage’s next big historical day out in Northampton in July. And that time…. we’re camping! 🙂