- Associated Press - Monday, January 27, 2014

MONROE, Wash. (AP) - When Sean McMillan was 15, he witnessed a medieval-style fighting demonstration at his school, Snohomish High.

Though the combatants used safe weapons made of rattan, plastic, foam and leather, they hit each other hard.

McMillan remembers saying, “I want to fight like that.”

Now 35 and living in Marysville, McMillan has been fighting like that for nearly two decades as a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism.

McMillan and hundreds of other SCA members, many of whom are focused on calmer interests such as medieval clothing, cooking and crafts, gathered at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds over the weekend for their annual Ursulmas Medieval Faire.

The two-day event, open to the public for a fee, included fighting, archery, weapons throwing, craft demonstrations, vendors, singing and storytelling.

The SCA focuses on the period from 600 to 1600 A.D.

“I’m such a huge history geek, I really love it,” said member Rebekah Ross of Shoreline, 31, whose medieval name is Aenor de Pessac. “I would say I was made to do this.”

The Ursulmas fair is a local version of similar events around the region and the world. The Society for Creative Anachronism was started in the 1960s in Berkeley, Calif., by history buffs hosting theme parties and grew from there, Ross said.

Now there are up to 60,000 members worldwide, she said. About 3,500 of them live in the Kingdom of An Tir, otherwise known as Washington, Oregon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and part of Idaho, Ross said.

The Snohomish County SCA chapter, known as the Barony of Aquaterra, hosts the Ursulmas event. The chapter numbers close to 300 people, said business manager Geraldine Terhune of Marysville.

In addition to local SCA members, the fair typically draws people from King, Skagit, Pierce and Whatcom counties and farther, according to the group.

This year, the count was about 2,600 for the two days, counting visitors, Ross said - about twice last year’s total.

The event is divided up into two parts. The fighting takes place in the fairgrounds arena and the crafts and other pursuits are located in the main building.

Fighting is split into two types, including “heavy” fighting, with weapons resembling maces, hammers and large swords. Participants wear medieval-style armor.

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