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Ye Olde Nile Garden School celebrates Medieval Faire
Nile Garden School teacher Timothy Lewis, aka King Lewis the Wise, lights up three torches as he gets ready to perform one of his juggling acts during Thursday’s annual Medieval Faire celebration. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO
May is a significant month to every seventh grader at Nile Garden School. That’s when the campus courtyard undergoes a dramatic transformation and the students led by their history teacher are transported back to medieval times.

It’s more than a game of pretend – the make-believe Medieval Faire is the day’s lesson for the seventh graders. Actually, it’s the culmination of everything that they’ve been learning in the classroom during the school year about the medieval age from Mr. Timothy Lewis who, at least for this approximately three-hour revelry, reigns over the entire celebration as King Lewis the Wise!

Likewise, his seventh graders take on medieval personas that they have chosen and come to the faire dressed accordingly. To do that, the students have to do some research on the character they wish to personify so they know exactly what costume they have to wear. Some parents even help their children make their costume.

The outdoor celebration is designed to re-enact a sampling of a day during the medieval times with a number of fun and games, also from that time in history, featured during the entertainment portion of the celebration. Even the selections of food that the students, along with their parents and special guests, feast on while gathered on covered long tables decorated with flowers, reflect the gastronomical treats from those days gone by.

The faire begins with a Parade of the Manors led by King Lewis the Wise in a carriage pulled by students playing the role of the king’s subjects. The students get to pick the name of their manors, too. The parade goes around a portion of the campus for the other students in the lower grades to enjoy. The feast follows, with the chosen King and Queen of the day – this year, the royal pair are Fabiola Lopez and Onix Paredes - and their retinue occupying the royal head table in the pavilion. Entertainment begins shortly thereafter.

Every year, King Lewis entertains his students and guests with a professional-caliber juggling act. He actually did professional juggling gigs while in college to help pay for his education. His juggling performance – juggling three apples while eating them, three lit torches, and three knives – is one of the day’s highlights, if not THE main highlight.

This year, King Lewis the Juggler had some competition – what he described as “an amazing collection of jugglers” which included his nephew, Nathan Peck, who is also in his seventh-grade class. The young jugglers greatly impressed their teacher with the level of expertise they displayed in the short length of time they have been learning the tricks of this trade.
The rest of the day’s entertainment included jousting, dancing to medieval music, and other period games. Adding color, pomp and pageantry to this year’s occasion were the addition of several new and mural-sized tapestries made by King Lewis himself. The largest of these tapestries was an oversized wall hanging in the pavilion behind the royal court. It’s a reproduction of a medieval feast and was completed with the help of King Lewis’s sister, Sharon Peck. The rest of the decorations were made by King Lewis through the years with the help of his mother, Ruth, who was also at the festivities with her husband Harold.

Many of the students said they liked the entertainment portion of the event the best.

“I like the talent show and the dancing,” said seventh grader Danniele Heath.

For her friend and classmate Lexus Barnes, what she enjoyed the best was “watching all the other people in their costumes.”

Courtney Posz said her favorite part of the fair was the magical transformation of the overall school atmosphere.

“Just having a different time, going back to the medieval ages and how different life was then,” she said.

As with previous years, King Lewis’s eighth-grade students took part in the day’s celebration, also in costume, by helping serve the food and drinks and assisting in the entertainment and games.