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Medieval Masquerade features games and dances

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Posted: Monday, February 4, 2008 12:00 am

Dressed in Elizabethan outfits, Master Octavio de Flores and Mistress Mairi Ceilidh sat at a table playing Byzantine chess, a popular game during the 10th century.

De Flores was adorned in clothing one would imagine Shakespeare owning - a red outfit with white ruffles, bows at the wrists and knee-high black boots.

"It's the kind of outfit that would have been worn by Henry XIII," de Flores said. "But mine is more particular to Spain."

De Flores and Ceilidh, who go by Jay and Janice TerLouw by day, both attended the third annual Medieval Masquerade at the Thomas Center Friday night.

The TerLouws are members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, an organization that holds reenactments of historical events.

Their alter egos are a part of their membership.

The masquerade's theme was game day and featured entertainment spanning from the medieval times to more modern days.

It was coordinated with the art exhibit currently on display at the Thomas Center, which showcases games played in past civilizations around the world.

"The games range from Japanese origami to medieval ladies playing ring toss," said Mary Watt, co-director for the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies. "It's basically a celebration of games."

The masquerade was part of a larger group of events dedicated to medieval times, including the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire and the knight invasion at the Plaza of the Americas.

Participants dressed to match the culture and time period of the game they were playing.

Michael and Rebecca Bassett, also members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, dressed in traditional Mongolian clothing to demonstrate shagai, a medieval game played with dice made from sheep anklebones.

Medieval dances were also performed.

Guided by their "fool" playing a flute and wearing a jester's costume, a group of dancers with bells on their heels demonstrated a Morris dance, a 15th century dance using sticks, said participant Amy Schwarzer.

The dancers wore green tabards, short coats that were common in the Middle Ages, Schwarzer said.

They also wore black tights and black boots featuring bells.

Watt said each year the masquerade turnout has grown and more people dress up.

"We want this to evolve into a great masquerade to celebrate Mardi Gras," she said. "Hopefully it will grow big enough to be the big Mardi Gras event in Gainesville."

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