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Group re-enacts medieval times
“Herald” Louise Sugiyama holds up her drink as the festivities begin. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
You were more likely to find a tunic-wearing serf taking swigs of grog than you were the average resident sipping from their water bottle Saturday afternoon when the Society for Creative Anachronism ascended on the Manteca Senior Center.

From classes on how to make your own tunic to a realistic sword fight to determine the royal stature of the SCA members in attendance, the all-day event – which showcases life in pre 17th-century Europe – attracted not only members of the organization from throughout Northern California, but also a fair share of interested residents that enjoyed the authentic garb and the atmosphere where things like chivalry are far from dead.

“It’s always been something that I’ve been interested in ever since my parents first took me to Disneyland,” said resident Ernie Navarette while he was working with Viscountess Louise Duchatte Bleu – also known as Donna Romero – on the tunic he would wear for the evening feast. “It’s nice to have an event like this here in Manteca where you don’t have to travel very far to enjoy something like this.”

Whether it was a sword wielding fighter or somebody teaching hand-to-hand combat to a fellow SCA member, the entire theme of the afternoon revolved the appreciation, the observance, and the preservation of an era of history that is as complex as the group who practices it is varied.

“I think that for me the research of the history and learning about these different periods are what has kept me involved in this for as long as I have (been),” said “Herald” Louise Sugiyama who served as the narrator for the outdoor events that took place early Saturday afternoon. “It’s good to have events like this where people can come out and see what we’re all about and enjoy themselves at the same time.”

With prices for family entertainment nowadays surging and the current economic downturn forcing many families to either cut back or find other ways to enjoy their time, Romero – who was floating around the Senior Center Saturday afternoon while the Old World fest was being prepared – noted that it was something her entire family can be involved with that first caught her attention more than two decades ago.

“It’s something that’s fun for people who enjoy history, and it’s a great event that the whole family can come be a part of and have fun while they’re doing it,” said Romero – who’s SCA name translates into “Louise the Blue Cat.” “Getting other people involved that enjoy doing this is also something that makes being a part of this organization really worthwhile.”