Feast your eyes on this…
Knights in armour, fire spinning, a rotten tomato toss, fortune telling, and a feast of many beasts.
The inaugural Medieval Feast of Beast is set to throw open its gates to a field full of food, fire, and fantasy on Sept. 21.
“It’s a massive production,” says organizer Mariel Anderson of Spectrum Events.
The seven-hour-long event is described as a “not-so-typical dinner theatre” and it will take place in the middle of a corn field at Fantasy Farms. From an original theatre performance to music played on whistles, flutes and bagpipes, from a marketplace to a caber toss, the night will be packed with entertainment.
“Seven hours will pass really quickly… because of all the entertainment that’s going on,” she says.
The party begins at 4 p.m. and knights will greet guests as they arrive. If you shall pass, you’ll step back in time and into a field surrounded by stalks of corn and medieval props and costumes, all while taking in the view of the Cascades.
Upon entering, people will walk into a marketplace where vendors will be selling home-grown tea, jewelry made from bones and more.
Different types of live entertainment will move seamlessly from one act to the next. Music being played on hand drums and guitars will fill the air while being interspersed with fire performances, belly dancing and contact juggling.
“Everything about it is just going to flow, like a typical day,” says Anderson.
Then it will be time to feast.
Four long dining tables, each seating 50 people, will stand in the middle of the field. Pick a table, and you’ll be picking your clan for the night. Will you be a peasant with the queen’s clan, or will you be a townsfolk with the other clan ruled by the king? You’ll soon find out as dinner is served and the theatre production begins.
Once dinner time hits, wood slabs full of food will be dropped on the tables — root vegetables, pumpkins, squash, corn and the meat of three beasts (ham hocks, chicken and brisket by James Moran) will be served.
Like medieval times, everything will be served in “massive chunks” on the table, says Anderson. There will be no cutlery and the plates will be pieces of wood.
As guests dine, the actors will let their story unfold. It’s a tale about two clans and they have to unite their king and queen in order to survive, but they don’t like each other so they don’t want to, says Anderson. The original script is written by Sketch Williams.
This type of event is likely something never before seen in Chilliwack. Anderson got the idea to put on Medieval Feast of Beast after attending a similar event in the basement of a castle in Prague years ago. She was “absolutely blown away” by it and decided to do the same style of event in Chilliwack.
One of the things she loves about Spectrum events is “when people are there, they’re meeting other people who are open minded and who are looking for something different.”
“That’s one of the things I’ve always loved is bringing people together,” she says. “It can be an awesome date night. It’s something totally completely different.”
Anderson was born and raised in Chilliwack and recently moved back here after living in Vancouver for a number of years. Her dad, Steve Anderson, used to organize high school dances at Chilliwack secondary that were completely over-the-top. She recalls him going all out and bringing in a props such as a waterfall, trees, and a real airplane made to look as if it had crashed.
“Still to this day, those dances were some of the best events I’ve ever been to,” she says. She now aspires to put on events like his.
“The reason why I started Spectrum was because I wanted to create a platform for people to come and experience — as well as perform — on their own terms authentically as themselves and be accepted in a safe space no matter what.”
She says although Canada has come a long way in accepting the LGBTQ+ community, there is still segregation.
“There’s gay parties, lesbian parties, drag queens… straight [parties] and everybody is still very separate. What I wanted to do is bridge the gap between all of those and be that space where people see the brand Spectrum and they know that they’re going to be embraced no matter what.”
Her events are not only inclusive to all, but they’re also fundraisers for charities.
Money raised on Sept. 21 will go to A Christmas to Remember — an annual event hosted by Fantasy Farms which brings an evening of Christmas (dinner, presents, Santa and more) to a number of less-fortunate Chilliwack families.
There will be donation buckets set out for the cause. Additionally, people can buy rotten tomatoes for the tomato toss that night. Each guests will get one free tomato to chuck, but if they want more they have to pay.
The evening will also feature an auction for a set of handmade wooden king and queen thrones made by Andrew Kornelson. That money also goes to A Christmas to Remember.
Medieval Feast of Beast runs 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Fantasy Farms (9423 Gibson Rd.). Tickets are $100 and available at spectrumevents.ca. Last day to buy tickets is Sept. 14.
Dressing up in costume is not required but is highly encouraged.
This is a 19+ event.