On the coast between where the waters of Carlingford Lough cut into the country and where the Slieve Foye mountain juts into the sky, is the small village of Carlingford, Ireland. In October, Columbia residents can travel to this coastal village known for its medieval history and culture in less than 30 minutes.
Carlingford will make its way toward Kingdom City for the 16th season of the annual Central Missouri Renaissance Festival on Oct. 23 and 24. The year will be A.D. 1550, and there will be queens and pirates dancing to the music of bagpipes and drums alongside live entertainment and food vendors. Vikings and mariners with flintlock pistols and cannons will all be part of this year's immersive recreation of the northeastern Irish village.
The festival will be held just off the Hatton exit of Interstate 70 on about 20 acres of farmland that was purchased by CMRF in 2019.
A highlight of the festival will be the armored combat shows from The Order of the Red Boar, a medieval reenactment, live-skill combat group.
Clint Unruh has been a member of the Order since it was founded in 2018 by Jeffrey Andrews, who moved to Missouri from Belgium and created the U.S. version of the Order in Springfield. Unruh met Andrews at the White Hart Renaissance Faire in Hartsville.
Unruh, who loves history, jokingly described the Order as a less-strict version of the Knights Templar. “Sorry, that may just be for history buffs,” he says.
The Order has between 35 and 40 members, but Unruh says that more people show interest in joining each time the group practices at the Finley River Park in Ozark. “You really feel like you’re with your fellow brothers and sisters,” Unruh says about the group's family atmosphere.
The Order’s performances at CMRF usually gather crowds from across the festival grounds as people are drawn to the sounds of live combat. Along with the combat shows, the Order will also have a mercenary encampment with squires, weapon smiths, armor smiths, and cooks using cast-iron skillets. “You step into our camp, and you step back into history,” Unruh says.
The festival's several entertainment and musical guests will include the Musical Blades, a renaissance-rock band from Kansas City.
Food at the festival will range from turkey legs and vegan tacos to hotdogs, hamburgers and pasties from London Calling, a Springfield food truck that's so well-loved that people sometimes purchase tickets to the festival just for its food, says Stephen Eickhorst, president of CMRF.
A portion of the proceeds from the festival’s ticket sales will go toward a food drive for the Fulton Soup Kitchen. Discounted tickets will be available to those who bring a nonperishable food item that can be donated to the Fulton Soup Kitchen.
Eickhorst describes the festival as an event that evokes magic and gives people “a break from reality.”
“It’s a place where you can just come and have fun,” he says. “There’s no judgement. There’s never anyone that’s going to be looked down upon.”