When driving down Johnston Highway in Trenton, drivers may have noticed a manmade tower that looks like a piece of a castle from medieval times, and they would be right in thinking that as EastWind Castle is the entry point to a medieval village, which hosted its third annual Dragon Faire this weekend.
The Dragon Faire is a Renaissance Faire with a bit of a modern twist.
Sherman Gills, also know as King Keliance EastWind, founded EastWind in 2008. Gills is retired from the service and spent time in Europe, where he fell in love with all things medieval. There he also became a "Germanic Knight," fighting in full armor.
Gills and his wife Donna, also known as Queen Mysteria EastWind, came back to Aiken County and together created EastWind and the Renaissance Faire.
"It all started with building EastWind Castle, which is the tower that can be seen from the highway, but I ended up falling in love with the arts and sciences – moving our focus to the faire in the woods behind the castle," Gills said.
Dragon Faire was created to allow anyone to come and take part in the fun and festivities of EastWind.
Attendees could spar with knights, play games, watch a Shakespearian play and other performances on the main stage, watch blacksmiths at the forge, learn archery and even be knighted.
Lillian Lutz said she has attended the Dragon Faire every year.
"I love archery," Lutz said. "And this is pretty much the only place I can come to do it. This place is just really cool and you can't find anything else quite like it around here."
There were also modern and medieval foods available, along with vendors selling different medieval-period items.
Many of the attendees also participated in "cosplay," or costume play, dressing up as princesses, blacksmiths or fairies.
Gills said that, even with the heat, they saw around 300 people on Saturday and Sunday.
"It's amazing how many people are into this subculture," Gills said. "My wife and I loved it and knew others would. This is a place for people to come and enjoy a fantasy world."
For more information on EastWind Castle, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/EastWindCastleSC/.