ROCK ISLAND — Robe flowing behind him, “Lord Earl Edward Ian Anderson” put heels to his charger and galloped, lance forward, striking the target and sending the quintain spinning in circles.
A good hit, and not something you’d see everyday in an orchard-fringed corral in Rock Island.
The Lord Anderson daylights as Ed Carthell, a structural designer for Weyerhaeuser company in Vancouver.
Saturday’s fourth Annual Equinox Horse & Archery Event, put on by the local chapter of the Society for Creative Anachronism, gave him a chance to be his true self.
“The parameters are pre-1600s, says the lord, a 31-year veteran of this world society, formed in Berkeley, California by enthusiasts of medieval European history who were intent on pursuing their passion by living it. At least on weekends.
“We bring the good aspects of the Middle Ages to modern times, Carthell said. “Honesty and fairness are more important than winning or losing.”
The worldwide club with some 30,000 participants is highly organized into kingdoms and smaller districts. The U.S. Northwest district, known as An Tir, covers a vast territory from Oregon, Washington and Idaho into Canada.
Saturday’s event was organized by the society’s local district of Chelan and Douglas counties, known as Cranehaven.
Participants are expected to espouse the values of honor, chivalry and responsibility for one another.
They gather at tournament-style events, much as knights did in the Middle Ages to test their skills at heavy combat — using rattan weapons — archery and horsemanship. But society events also include or feature arts, crafts, cuisine and dance. Something for everyone, they say.
Renee Hopkins of Black Diamond, aka “Freydis,” wore a beautiful breast adornment of handmade beads and metalwork that she received in trade for some costumes that she sewed.
“I love my chosen family, and the arts,” she said.
Society members form lasting friendships. Many couples attended Saturday’s event. Some met at SCA events.
“Everyone’s very welcoming, and in our transient society, it’s nice to have that extended family of aunts and uncles in SCA,” said Miranda Brothers, “Dutchess Miranda Faoltiarna,” whose husband and twin 8-year-old sons are also involved.
Local event organizer Matthew Harrison helped Wenatchee Valley College’s Medieval Mayhem Club launch its annual Renaissance Fair.
“Most people who do this are interested in some part of medieval life,” he said, dressed as a dark knight. “I like the knights, the horses, the whole romantic part.”
Dressed as a peasant woman, Desiree Knemeyer of Wenatchee is an “unofficial” member of the society, but a very enthusiastic one.
“What I love is the ability to be professional by day, but in the SCA play what we feel we really are,” she said, during a break in the archery tournament.
At a call from the archery organizer, contestants approached the targets to tally their points.
“How many points do you think you got?” asked a contestant.
Dressed in black apprentice garb with a white tunic bearing a large dog print, 12-year-old Ean Howard, aka “Johannes Vagas II” of Wenatchee responded with a flourish of his hand, “M’Lady, you have eight points.”
He and an archer gave each other high fives — not exactly a medieval gesture, but these creative reinactors don’t quibble.
“If they’d have had it, they’d have used it,” his mom Jennifer Howard said with a smile of the knights of old.