Casper got its medieval on this weekend at the annual Middle Platte Renaissance Faire at the Natrona County Fair(e)grounds this weekend.

The Blades of Morea Renaissance Scots clashed in sword fighting at the event, which is a major project sponsored by Stage III Community Theatre.

The Brethren of Tide pirate troupe told tall tales of treasure and travels -- when they were able to stay vertical after all the beer.

Vendors sold Celtic crafts, ale, jewelry, clothing, and pottery.

Participants paraded in regal attire, many with painted faces.

Jesters jested.

Jousters jousted.

Of the latter, the Fort Collins, Colo.-based Order of Epona returned to the annual Faire with its drama of knights, ladies, and noble steeds.

This year, the forces of Order were pitted against the forces of Chaos in a tournament with Sir Ronan (Jeremy Johnson) on a Shire horse representing Order and Sir Brawly (Tony Warfield) on a Gypsy Cobb horse representing Chaos as they sparred with lances and barbed words.

Before they went at each other on the field of honor, or at least a field at the Fair(e)grounds, other actors hurled epithets as they riled up the crowd for either Order or Chaos.

And some went after each other with swords, axes, bare hands and insults.

Taylor Swanson, also known as Lady Brona, rode her Shire horse and exhorted the crowd to cast their lots with the forces of Chaos.

When another woman fighter dared her to dismount and do combat, she responded, "I'm prettier up here."

Swanson owns the Order of Epona and brings a lifetime of riding to the show, she said.

She grew up in Hollywood where her father was an animator, worked on a ranch on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii, and has a ranch near Fort Collins.

Swanson met the Order of Epona in 2010 and turned it into a business, she said.

The troupe is one of about a dozen nationwide and performs at Renaissance Faires in New Mexico, Montana, Iowa, Arkansas, Colorado and Wyoming, she said. It also has appeared on The Travel Channel.

The action is demanding, and those who audition and are selected for a role as a jouster must be an expert equestrian. The horses themselves go through their own training to handle the rigors of other horses with riders wielding lances charging at them, she said.

The troupe in Casper had about a dozen performers Saturday. Swanson hopes the business can grow to where it can have at least two troupes on the road.


The Renaissance Faire closes at 9 p.m. today. Admission is $10 for adults.