By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
If you’ve ever wanted to throw your friends or family in jail, just for a while, there’s a cage nearby where you can do so for as little as $3. It’s about 30 minutes west of Oxford, inside the magical 16th Century European village in Holly that is the Michigan Renaissance Festival.
Next to the castle, you’ll find The Stockade, an interactive game where you can have your kinfolk arrested. The warden is Erin Dort, an Oxford resident who has worked at the festival since 2002.
“One of my jailers would go with you, have you follow your friend or family member back to the jail while we kind of make a spectacle of them for about 10-15 minutes,” Dort explained. “Then we bring them up on the stage where they are prompted through a song and dance before they can go free.”
Dort enjoyed going to renaissance fairs as kid growing up in Florida. “When I moved up here, I saw that they had one going on and I went to it with some friends. Then the next year I went to the auditions for The Stockade, and have been doing it ever since.” She took over The Stockade as its owner in 2009.
Most of the time, she is in character playing a confessor, one of those leading the prisoners in song and dance, but she fills in any role that is need at The Stockade.
Of course, there’s plenty else to do whilst at the festival. Attend a jousting match, eat a turkey leg, try some Michigan craft mead, stroll through the artisan market, speak Elizabethan English, cosplay or just people watch.
The Michigan Renaissance Festival is open weekends, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., through Oct. 3. It is located at 12600 Dixie Hwy in Holly. Parking is free, entrance is $24.95 for adults.
By James Hanlon