Hill Lewis, aka Rolland and Paul Caldwell, aka Alberic Hawk, duel to the death (sort of) for spectators during Douglas Fourth of July festivities. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Hill Lewis, aka Rolland and Paul Caldwell, aka Alberic Hawk, duel to the death (sort of) for spectators during Douglas Fourth of July festivities. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Go ‘Fourth’ into battle: Historical re-creators spend Independence Day at the park

Ever seen a knight fight a samurai?

Sun’s out, swords out would have been a fitting motto as the Society for Creative Anachronism took to Savikko Park ready for battle in full gear and full spirit during Fourth of July festivities in Douglas.

The SCA is an international nonprofit volunteer educational organization, as well as an inclusive group that prides itself on the pursuit of research and re-creation of pre-17th century skills, arts, combat and culture. Participants are said to gain knowledge of history through activities, demonstrations, and events. When SCA members say inclusive, they mean just that because no timeline is off limits and everyone is welcome to participate within their own historical interests.

“Each of us has a different persona, name or background that we focus on with different time periods that we’re personally into. For instance, today I’m fighting in armor that would be seen right around 1400 Germany, or I hate to say it France, there’s a dead Duke with a really cool statue that I copy. We have a big window, from the fall of Rome in the west to the year 1600 pretty much in Europe and people still even bend those rules. You’ll still see Samurais and early Romans but we’re not going to chase them off because where else are they going to go? There’s no other group for them and so long as they’re doing it well, who cares?” said SCA member Karl Marx, who does battle as Karl Helweg.”

Hill Lewis, aka Rolland, and Arthur McVey, aka Arthur Bloodworth, fight for glory as a crowd gathered in Savikko Park during the Douglas Fourth of July festivities. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Hill Lewis, aka Rolland, and Arthur McVey, aka Arthur Bloodworth, fight for glory as a crowd gathered in Savikko Park during the Douglas Fourth of July festivities. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

The SCA Juneau chapter is titled Earngyld, but the international community includes over 30,000 members with 20 different kingdoms worldwide. In addition to medieval style fighting, participants learn about the arts, skills, and culture of the Middle Ages and Renaissance in a fun atmosphere through royal courts, feasts, dancing, classes, hands-on workshops and yes, brutal tournaments.

Hill Lewis, aka Rolland, instructs beginner knight David Caldwell, aka Aiden Hawk, on the finer points of SCA combat during Douglas Fourth of July festivities.(Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Hill Lewis, aka Rolland, instructs beginner knight David Caldwell, aka Aiden Hawk, on the finer points of SCA combat during Douglas Fourth of July festivities.(Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

“I’m flying up to Anchorage to fight in a tournament up there. I’m gonna try to win it in one blow. I’ll be conserving energy because it’s best two out of three of each opponent and the finals are best three out of five. It is full force, full speed unchoreographed combat. Most guys are going at about 80% so they don’t break their friends, but we’re all trying to win,” SCA member Paul Caldwell said.

Hill Lewis, aka Rolland, and Karl Marx, aka Karl Helweg, pose in full costume before engaging in battle at Savikko Park during the Douglas Fourth of July festivities. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Hill Lewis, aka Rolland, and Karl Marx, aka Karl Helweg, pose in full costume before engaging in battle at Savikko Park during the Douglas Fourth of July festivities. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire)

Contact Jonson Kuhn at jonson.kuhn@juneauempire.com.

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