Derek Olson and Thom Peters with A Life Medieval.

Fire in the Shire in Alma on June 11


(6/8/2016)

The Milchiean Hoplites portray Greek citizen-soldiers.
The Milchiean Hoplites portray Greek citizen-soldiers.


Two members of the Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association demonstrating the longsword in front of the museum.
Two members of the Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association demonstrating the longsword in front of the museum.


Arm up for battle at Fire in the Shire in Alma on Saturday, June 11! What started as the annual Castlerock Museum Gala has grown into a citywide celebration of all things medieval. It will be a day full of colorful exhibits, demonstrations, food, shopping and family fun.

The event will start with a knightly parade at 10 a.m. that will wind its way up to the castle. The parade will marshal on River Street, cross the Great River Road by the Alma Hotel, head up Elm Street which turns into Orange Street, and then down Second Street to Castlerock Museum across from the courthouse. Keep in mind that Second Street will be closed to vehicle traffic in front of the museum.

The castle doors will open at 10:30 a.m. There will be ongoing demonstrations of blacksmithing, wood working, and coin making, along with ancient and medieval re-enactors from the Milchiean Hoplites and A Life Medieval. For many visitors, the highlight of the day will be the swordsmanship demonstrations taking place on the street at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 4:30 p.m., courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association and the Shattered Oak Light Weapons Practice Group. Herr Karl will also show how to “arm up for battle” at noon and 3:30 p.m. The NorthEnd Pub & Grill will provide concessions. The museum will close at 6 p.m.

Admission wristbands to the museum are $6 for adults and $4 for students. Children four and under are free. Visitors in ancient, medieval, or renaissance-era dress will pay half price. Weapons must remain sheathed and peace-tied.

What medieval-themed event would be complete without a search for the Holy Grail? Stop by the Empire Room Patio at noon, Wings Over Alma at 1 p.m., or the Big River Theater at 2 p.m. for a chance to obtain a key that may unlock the chest holding the treasured artifact. The search will conclude at Castlerock Museum at 3 p.m.

An art contest will take place among the shops of Alma showcasing medieval- and renaissance-inspired works. Visitors can pick their favorites and enter a drawing for $100 Alma Dollars. The drawing will take place at the castle after the Grail Contest. Participating shops include Alma Leather, Art & Soul, the Burlington Quilt Shop, The Commercial, the 3G Gallery, the Gesell Gallery, The Shanty, Stump Town Gallery, Water Lily Gifts, the Weaving Studio, and Wings Over Alma.

Food and drink will not be lacking on Main Street, with the Minnesota Pickle Boy selling his wares in front of Fire and Ice, plenty of mead at the Empire Room, muffins and scones at the Coffee Wench, a 4 p.m. pig roast at the Red Ram Saloon, pulled pork sandwiches at Wings Over Alma, turkey drumsticks at the Alma General Store, and brats at the Volunteer Alma Fire Department.

There will be merry making throughout the land with Gypsy Belly Dancers, the Wabasha Wings, and a Bagpipe & Drummer Duo traveling between several of the shops and a fiddling barista at the Coffee Wench. Children ages 7-12 can try their hand at archery from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the corner of Vine and Main Street. The Big River Theater will show “The Princess Bride” at 11 a.m. and Monty Python and the Holy Grail at 3 p.m. The Theater of Fools will perform at Danzinger Vineyards at 1 p.m., The Empire Room at 3 p.m., and the Big River Theater at 6 p.m. The day’s festivities will wrap up with a Masquerade Ball at the Burlington Hotel from 8-10 p.m. Admission is $5 and appetizers are provided.

Castlerock Museum would like to thank the Hotel de Ville and all the businesses and organizations involved for their help in making this event a possibility. Check out the “Magna Charta” on the museum’s Facebook page or www.fireintheshire.com for a complete list of the day’s activities. For event questions, contact the museum at 608-685-4231.

 

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