Photos and history

From Häme Medieval Fair to the Medieval Festival of Hämeenlinna

In 1997 there was an exhibition in the Häme Castle about Queen Margaret I (1353-1412), Queen of Denmark, Norway and Sweden and the founder of Kalmar Union. A small medieval event was organized near the castle by the Finnish Heritage Agency and Pohjola-Norden. Kalevi Särestö and the City of Hämeenlinna invited associations to organize similar event and first Lions Club Häme Tawast took the challenge.

In 1999 the medieval association of Hämeenlinna was founded. Founders were from several history and medieval associations from Hämeenlinna. The first chairman was Kalevi Särestö. Since then the purpose of the association has been to increase the interest to the history, culture and lifestyle of Häme, Finland and Nordic countries.

From the beginning the event had tournaments, feast, music performances and a market area. For quite some time the market was organized inside the castle walls. The first tournament was held in 1999, when horses and knights of Raseborgs Medeltida Sällskap competed on the field of the barracks.

The amount of the visitors increased every year. In 2008 there were more than 10 000 visitors. The castle area began to be too small and it was the right time to expand the event to the surrounding park. At the same time the name of the event changed to Häme Medieval Fair.

To make it all happen, the medieval volunteer workers are essential. Yearly there are about 300 volunteers. Without them this kind of event wouldn’t be possible.

In 2016 Hämeen keskiaikatapahtumat Oy was founded by the medieval association of Hämeenlinna. Since then Oy has been responsible for the event production. The Medieval association has an office in the dungeons of the prison museum. The event has always been organized in cooperation with the surrounding museums and since 2000, the festival ticket has included entrance to all museums.

The year 2017 was the 20th anniversary of Häme Medieval Fair and it grew to a four-day-event, which name was changed as the one we know now, Hämeen keskiaikafestivaali, the Medieval Festival of Hämeenlinna.

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