Raffles chats with… St Ives Medieval Faire’s Sir Andrew McKinnon

Australian jouster "SIr" Andrew McKinnon

You probably don’t realise the lengths Raffles is prepared to go to in order to find interesting people to interview for this blog! In this case, as the world’s best jousters prepare to converge on St Ives for Australia’s largest ever international jousting festival, he desperately wanted to chat with Sir Andrew McKinnon, the man behind the extraordinary St Ives Medieval Faire.

In fact, so keen was he to get the inside story on all things jousting that he battled the armoured knight with a plastic sword until he spilled the medieval beans… read on!

Raffles battles Sir ANdrew the brains behind the St Ives Medieval Faire

I love knights and Vikings so I loved everything about last year’s inaugural St Ives Medieval Faire. And it wasn’t just for grown ups, there were loads and loads of things for kids too. I tried archery and watched people catapulting giant watermelons with the trebuchet and got to hold a massive wedge-tailed eagle that wore a hat.

Raffles hold s a wedge tailed eagle at St Ives Medieval Faire

I even met a jester who taught me how to ride a unicycle and juggle.

Learning to unicycle at St Ives Medieval Faire

What will there be for kids at this year’s St Ives Medieval Faire (on 19th & 20th September) that could possibly top all that?
Just like last year we’ll be making medieval history fun, so there will be plenty on for the kids (and big kids) too! If you’ve dreamed of becoming a warrior, you should head along to the Knight’s Academy, where you can learn the basics of gallantry, chivalry, honesty and honour through fun activities like swordsmanship and mock combat. There are puppet shows, comedy shows, archery, an awesome birds of prey demonstration and so much more! For younger kids there will be a medieval story tent where you can hear stories of medieval times and create your own medieval arts and crafts, plus pony rides and dress-ups.
Ok, sounds even more awesome!

The new varangian guard at St Ives Medieval

I also loved watching all the Viking biffo last year. Will there be battles again this year?
Yes, there will four battles staged each day and they will be massive!

I like to eat. A lot. I know this year you’re going to hold a humongous feast night and it made me wonder, what did medieval people actually eat?
This year we are having a special feast with yummy medieval goodies. The medieval period actually covers a few hundred years and encompasses most of Western Europe as we like to portray it. Peasants ate a basic but healthy diet with lots of vegetables and a little meat. Nobility tended to eat more meat and elaborate dishes. Some of the more unusual dishes included swan and even dolphin!
Ewww. I’d eat pretty much anything but I think I’d have to pass on eating a dolphin, they’re way too nice to chomp on.

What’s your favourite medieval dish?
Roast meats! Yum.
But not roast dolphin, right?

Jousting tournament at St Ives Medieval FaireYou’re a knight and you’re competing in the Tournament of St Ives, a jousting competition, which is completely awesome! I watched it last year at the fair and thought jousting was totally epic but you guys SMASH each other with your lances. Is it scary?
It’s not scary as we’re very highly trained to be able to do this. It requires us to be very brave, and we need to look after our horse friends, who make it possible.

Does it take a long time to learn to joust?
It does take a long time.  First, you need to learn how to ride really well so that you will be able to ride in the metal armour (which is really heavy!).  It also takes a lot of skill to be able to ride a horse while holding the lance.  In all it takes a few years of hard training before you can joust!
So I better get started now then…

You’ve travelled the world to compete in jousting tournaments, where’s the coolest place you’ve competed?
St Ives! Though France was a close second as they had real castles.
I love France too, the castles there are totally awesome.

Which place in the world do you think has the best food for medieval knights to eat after a joust!
You always get the best food at home.
That depends on who is doing the cooking! Like when my mum cooks it’s awesome but dad always seems to get stuck on sausages. 

I find it really hard to even fold my t-shirts to put in a suitcase. How on earth do you pack armour to travel?
The armour weighs up to 40kg so it is a really expensive part of jousting.  In fact, it’s actually more expensive to bring the armour than it is for the airfare! The armour fits in my suitcase – and leaves no room for anything else!

And what about your weapons? And your horse? How do you pack them?
Due to safety and quarantine requirements I leave my trusty steed and weapons at home. These are provided by our generous overseas hosts.
Phew. I wondered how you’d fold a horse!

Raffles and Andrew McKinnon do their medieval thing for ST Ives Medieval Faire


If you’d like to WIN one of two family passes to this year’s St Ives Medieval Faire (each valued at $89) simply tell us your idea of the ultimate feast night!

Edit: Competition now closed. The winners are Nik & Lisa for their creative feasting ideas.

Terms & Conditions:

  • Open to Australian residents only.
  • Prize includes 2 x family entry passes to the St Ives Medieval Faire on19th & 20th September 2015. Prize includes entry pass only. Winners must organise own transport to and from the event. Total Prize pool is valued at AU$178. 
  • Giveaway opens on Tuesday 25th August 2015 at 6am and closes on Tuesday 8th September 2015 at 9am AEST.
  • This is a game of skill. The judge’s decision will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • The winners must be contactable via email and will be contacted on Tuesday 8th September 2015.

Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post. We enjoyed last years St Ives Medieval Faire so much that we wanted give y’all the chance to step back in time!

25 Comments on Raffles chats with… St Ives Medieval Faire’s Sir Andrew McKinnon

  1. Emily @ Have A Laugh On Me
    August 27, 2015 at 2:13 pm (9 years ago)

    I wish I was one of your kids – what a fabulous interview. I would LOVE to attend such a festival one day and the kids would have a ball. Must into the local Qld one. x

      August 28, 2015 at 7:57 pm (9 years ago)

      I’d be happy to adopt you lovely. Would be great to have a kid who I could drink vodka with! 😉

  2. Lisa
    August 27, 2015 at 9:28 pm (9 years ago)

    Looks like fantastic fun Raffles. My ultimate feast night was actually a dinner party I once hosted. I called it Australian Coat of Arms meets Asian banquet. We started with emu satay, followed with kangaroo vindaloo, then crocodile laksa and finished with cheesecake 🙂 It was delicious – though raw crocodile reminded me of cooking with a sponge!

      August 28, 2015 at 7:55 pm (9 years ago)

      Yummo! I want to come next time. Rafflesxx

  3. HandbagMafia
    August 28, 2015 at 7:43 am (9 years ago)

    Great interview Raffles! And I’m excited- I missed the Medieval Faire earlier this year out Mount Druitt way and I really enjoyed it last year. Thrilled there is another I can go to for my jousting fix!

      August 28, 2015 at 7:55 pm (9 years ago)

      This one is epic! It’s the coolest day out ever. And the jousting here is awesome. Raffles xx

  4. Fairlie
    August 28, 2015 at 10:48 am (9 years ago)

    Great interview – and so pertinent to ask about the packing of that armour! 40 kgs is a lot of excess baggage!

      August 28, 2015 at 7:53 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks Fairlie. I just wanted to know how he folded it! Rafflesxx

  5. hugzillablog
    August 28, 2015 at 4:25 pm (9 years ago)

    OMG this is the best – and how much has Raffles changed since lat year!

      August 28, 2015 at 7:52 pm (9 years ago)

      I know. I want to Bonsai him!

  6. Sara | Kid Magazine
    August 29, 2015 at 11:39 pm (9 years ago)

    Oh, looks like so much fun! Great interview Raffles 🙂

      August 30, 2015 at 4:22 pm (9 years ago)

      Thanks Sara, Sir Andrew was really nice. Raffles xx

      August 31, 2015 at 10:23 pm (9 years ago)

      First time something has made him squeamish!

  7. stuntman
    September 1, 2015 at 11:02 am (9 years ago)

    I’m with Sir Andrew here. My idea of an awesome feast night involves roast meats, preferably cooked over a fire pit. Maybe a little mead…?

    September 1, 2015 at 12:49 pm (9 years ago)

    Mum says I’m too little for mead but I like the idea of firepit cooked anything! Raffles xx

  9. Nik
    September 1, 2015 at 3:08 pm (9 years ago)

    The joy of feast lies not only in the eating, but the ingredients and the anticipation, so what could be more fun than by first beginning with the best ingredients and a journey to go get them?

    * Details will be given from the base of the Blue Mountains (in vicinity of Penrith), so allow additional time to transit to and from the bottom of the hill back to your residence.

    * Details given for the 2nd Sunday of the Month, but also can be any other Sunday with minor adjustments.

    From the base of the Mountains, drive to Leura Mall (approx. 45 mins)
    Spend approximately 30 mins sampling the fine chocolates of Josophans, purchase quantity required for post dinner & coffee for all guests.

    Once done there, your next stop is Dryridge wines in the Megalong Valley, arrive after 11am – your key purchases are the Six Foot Track Shiraz and the Blue Mountains Reserve Riesling. After allowing sufficient time to enjoy the ambience you head back up the Mountain.

    Continuing further up the Mountain, your next destination is Blackheath for the Growers Market. Here you will stock up on fresh produce – in season delights grown in the local area. Apples from Bilpin are always a delight, and if apple is your thing I recommend a little treat by way of Hillbilly Cider made by local identity Dodge. Stock up on fruit and veg appropriate to the season, and purchase your quality meats from either Shogun Wagyu if you have a hankering for Wagyu, or if you have a bent for sustainable local ethical organic meats you can aim for the beef and lamb from high Steaks Farming – people who truly love their trade.

    You are now ready to head home.
    Straight back down the mountain!
    Total round trip driving is around 3 hrs of driving through the picturesque mountains, both the quirky townships as well as varied bush scenery and valley views. So allow about 5-6 hours of touring, and eating, and drinking…. and lots of talking to proud growers and producers who have passion for their wares.

    If driving up the mountain for an overnighter, you could have stopped at Blue Mountains Coffee Roasters near Springwood for your post feast coffee too – but not open Sundays!)

    Once home – cook the feast you want with what you got.
    Not hard, and frankly given the quality of the awesome food you just got you could be as simple as throw the meat in the pan, and crack the wine – the contents of your hamper is now of such high quality you could pretty much just eat half of it raw and fresh – with that much chocolate, cider, wine, coffee, and chocolates no one really cares how much effort you put in – they are too busy enjoying the fare they wont be too fussed!
    Less time slaving over a stove, more time for memories and banter.

    And you got an awesome day trip to boot.

    Feast on that…!



      September 8, 2015 at 8:08 pm (9 years ago)

      Wow that’s what I call a wining feast!

      • Nik
        September 9, 2015 at 12:09 am (9 years ago)

        A long one at the very least! 🙂

    • Nik
      September 20, 2015 at 10:40 pm (9 years ago)

      Had an awesome day at the Faire and saw some most excellent jousting… and some feasting. I recommend the mead.


        September 26, 2015 at 6:49 pm (9 years ago)

        SO glad you had a great time 🙂

  10. Sofia
    September 6, 2015 at 10:46 pm (9 years ago)

    My ultimate feast day/night is Christmas lunch with the family that runs into the afternoon and is followed by eating leftovers at night … the kind of feasting that involves making sure you’ve worn stretchy clothes.

  11. Kerryn
    September 8, 2015 at 7:07 am (9 years ago)

    My ultimate feast would be at St Ives Medieval Faire – I’m a medieval nut! 🙂


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Hey, I’m Aleney! A mum, award-winning travel writer, magazine editor and gallivanting glutton. He’s Raff, the “boy” in boyeatsworld, and a fearless foodie, adventurer and eco-warrior. Along with his all-singing, all-dancing, all-adventurous sister, Sugarpuff, we’re exploring the world’s colour, culture and cuisine on a food safari for the junior set.

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