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|The javelin splinters as two knights joust for supremacy. More photos from the event are located here.|
Friday's activities, including some broken ribs received during a jousting mishap, were witnessed by several school groups mostly visiting from outside Chatham-Kent. Local classes were said to be notably absent due to board of education policies limiting field trips to one per year. According to organizers, the event is quite popular with Londoners and other Ontario and U.S. residents, but hasn't really caught on with locals. It is estimated that record crowds of 10,000 attended.
A sudden thunderstorm Saturday afternoon produced high winds and over an inch of rain, causing some damage to tents and turning the fields to mud. Events proceeded as planned, even though weather probably reduced the turnout.
Suggestions for next year include better signage along Grand Avenue, and accommodation for pedestrian visitors. Instead of using the usual entrance, access at an obscure back gate forced those on foot to detour some distance. With the muddy parking area, the site should be made more accessible to walkers, and deep ruts made wheelchair access nearly impossible.
Local school boards should review field trip policies and improve them to allow students in our communities to experience our own events and history. Perhaps this will inspire the next generation to take a more active role in our community, and learn some of our amazing history. Chatham-Kent events aren't just for tourists.
Special thanks must go to all event organizers and volunteers for their dedication and many hours of hard work to allow this event to happen.