It was a normal Sunday afternoon in the tranquility of Northern New Jersey. The sun was baking my pale shoulders turning them into human lobster colored shields, my maiden was beside me and the kids were screaming their lungs out “WHITE – BLACK – KILL!“.
See, that sentence could easily be taken fully out of context and used against me in a court of law, so I’d better explain the background to that statement. And, it’s not taken out of the Hunger Games either, which is a modern version of Lord of the Flies.
The story starts a few weeks back. I wanted to do something a little different and special for our kids for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend. We normally go for a drive in the weekends, visits Connecticut, goes to the zoo or grocery shopping. Or, we end up staying at the house because the weather has turned against humanity and the next flood has started … oh wait, I no longer live in Ireland! But the rain come down in American-sized raindrops (huge) when it does, rain soaking everything within seconds.
I had long been looking for something different and fun to do, for the entire family, and had several times come across ‘Medieval Times‘; knights, horses, princesses, cheering and eating with your hands. It was an easy choice and I booked tickets for the entire gang.
As we pulled into the ‘Medieval Times‘ castle (literally) it was clear that this was not a small event. The parking lot was full already, but I still managed to squeeze the Suburban into a free space between a pillar and a Porsche.
It was pretty clear that the owner of the Porsche, still sitting in his car, was extremely worried when he saw my tank pull in next to him, as he obviously feared that the kids would fling open the doors and hit his precious.
In fairness, that is one of my greatest fears too, that some day the kids are kicking open the door only to place a huge dent on the Maserati parked next to us. We’ve enabled child-locks for that reason alone … and because the kids are playing with the doors when driving!
Anyway, we made it to the entrance with no incidents and checked in with the friendly squire wearing brand new sneakers. We were assigned to table 5 and our knight was the Black ‘n White knight. To make sure we showed our allegiance, we were given paper crowns to wear that were decorated with the knight’s colours.
Shortly after arriving we were called to our table and waddled along with the 300 other people attending the festivities.
The seating arrangements was based on benches, with absolutely no room for a high chair, and metal plates + cups were placed in front of each seat. Each seat was facing the arena, where the battles would take place.
Suddenly the lights were dimmed and the show began. The king and princess arrived, followed by the knights and their squires. The main aim of the evenings activities was that the knights were divided into two teams and they had to battle each other – all while the patrons were cheering for their colours, eating, drinking and spitting.
The food was surprisingly good and consisted of well made ribs, half a chicken, tomato soup, garlic bread and a pastry for desert. Only trick was, you had to eat all the food with your hands. Cutlery was nowhere to be seen. The kids loved it and dug in with both hands and the faces were covered in juices from the meats within seconds. It was like watching some feeding frenzy I had never experienced before, seeing our kids ripping the flesh of the bones.
Swords were colliding with sparks flying and the crowd went bananas. Lances shattered as the knights rode towards each other on horseback, attempting to knock each other off. The battle continued on foot using a variety of medieval weapons (morning star, battle axes, swords and clubs) ending in one of the knights being “killed”. They all had one objective, fighting for the damsel in distress and winning her hand.
After 2 hours of full-on show, the winning knight was awarded his price, much to the fanatic cheers of the black ‘n white supporters as it was our knight who won. The kids went bonkers again, standing on the chairs screaming for more.
I was honestly starting to worry about bringing them home again, especially because my youngest (3-year-old female viking) wanted to see what weapons she could get in the gift shop. For the first 12 minutes of the car journey home, the kids were reenacting the battle cries, but they were all of a sudden overwhelmed with tiredness and dozed off.
Was it good? Would I recommend it to you? Abso-bloody-lutely!
It was an amazing afternoon for the family. We had so much fun, the food was great and entertainment was top class.