History lovers and re-enactors flocked to Laguna Lake Park in San Luis Obispo on Saturday as the Central Coast Renaissance Festival made its return, offering an assortment of games, food, contests, plays and — for the first time in years — jousting.
“I missed it; I love San Luis Obispo,” said Charlie St. Andrews, captain of the Knights of Mayhem jousting troupe.
St. Andrews and his trusty charger, Jagermeister, squared off against fellow Knight of Mayhem Brian Stephenson and his horse Arthur, trading both banter and lance blows for the amusement of the crowd. The knights joust twice daily, at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., as the festival concludes Sunday.
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St. Andrews said it’s been nearly a decade since the Knights of Mayhem rode in San Luis Obispo.
A veteran and former police officer, St. Andrews jousts full time now. A full contact-sport enthusiast with a background in rugby, rodeo and wrestling, he said jousting was a natural transition.
“I love the violence of the hits and entertaining the crowd,” he said. “We do it for real. We don’t do a Medieval Times dinner theater fall-off-your-horse kind of nonsense. We really joust. If someone got knocked off their horse, they really did.”
When he’s not strapped in platemail and shattering lances on the list, St. Andrews says he spends time volunteering with veterans and children with special needs or serious diseases.
“We go there as knights and help them fight the dragon,” he said. “I’ve actually got a lot of the names of the kids inside my breastplate here ... so they know I’m fighting with them.”
Besides jousting, festival goers can enjoy archery, juggling, falconry, dancing, parades, music, magic and comedy.
The Renaissance Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, which is “Be a Pirate Day,” where children can participate in a treasure hunt.
More information is available at ccrenfaire.com.