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Winterfest Medieval Festival

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It's the time of year again when we all huddle under our blankets and resist venturing outdoors. Yes, winter is drawing fast upon us and while indoor activities may seem the most obvious choice, you may want to think again, because just round the corner is one of Sydney's most exciting events, the Winterfest.

Located at Parramatta Park, the Winterfest is held each year for two consecutive days. Whether its children or adults, the festival has interesting activities suitable for all ages. A number of shows are held throughout the day, some educational and informative, while others are more exciting and action packed. Bird shows ("Full flight birds of prey"), archery lessons, jousting and fighting tournaments are just a few of the activities that trigger a rush of adrenaline.

At the centre of the field are the brave knights dressed in shining metal armor, riding on huge horses to face their equally formidable opponent. Surrounded by crowds of people, the contenders have plenty of support as they are cheered on by enthusiastic watchers. And if that isn't exciting enough, the "combats and arms display" towards the end of the show is definitely worth it, where all men clash together with their swords and traditional weaponry, in an attempt to take each other down.

Also with the shows are the many stalls surrounding the festival area, each displaying a variety of medieval arts and crafts. Medieval related books (fictional and non-fictional), leather bound diaries, ancient figurines of magical creatures and medieval styled clothing such as cloaks, capes, trousers and tunics, are just a few of the things sold at the stalls. And after all, Roman tunics from the 16th century and Milanese armory are both historical pieces that should not to be missed.

Golden and silver goblets, jewelry cases, figures of Egyptian Gods and other historical souvenirs are for sale. Ancient styled ornaments in particular are highly popular amongst adolescents and teenagers. Rings, earrings, and especially necklaces are common favorites due to their varying forms which include mythical creatures (dragons), objects used during the medieval periods (feathers, daggers), skulls, seahorses, crosses and other sorts of shapes and symbols.

If you don't want to make any purchases, there are also stalls which display all kinds of artifacts. Shields, swords, helmets, hammers, axes, gloves, chain mails (you're allowed to try them on if you're big enough) and other forms of authentic weaponry. While the items are for sale, that's not to say you can't examine or photograph them.

Better still are the life size models of warriors' clothing on display. For example, the Japanese Samurai uniform is a great way of visually demonstrating ancient battle costumes of foreign cultures. The hosts, of course, dress in medieval attire, some pirates, and some warriors. Either way, it's a great method of transforming a modern environment into an ancient medieval atmosphere, making history come alive for the children.

Other stalls simply offer a diverse range of food, including a separate stall for ice-creams for the kids, and warm beverages like tea and coffee for the adults. Don't miss out on all the excitement of the day, instead come and join the Winterfest next year. Tickets for adults (with concession) cost $10 while children are admitted for free.

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Why? For olde time fun
Where: Parramatta Park
Cost: Adults - $15, Children - $10
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Now that sounds really cool. Does it run every year?
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