Medieval, living history camp eyed for Smartsville
Ye olde Yuba County could be home in coming years to a living history lesson meant to be highly authentic, though stopping short of rickets and sword stabbings.
Sixty-five acres in Smartsville would become a medieval times living history camp, including a castle and other structures, according to a presentation Yuba County supervisors heard Tuesday night.
"We'd like to bring history and make it more than just dates in a book," said Steaphen Fick, a Bay Area resident who teaches a swordfighting class and made the presentation. "We plan to build a castle so they can learn about history by being there."
After the presentation, Fick said the project is years away from reality, though the company founded to create the camp, Knight2Day Inc., is nearing the close of escrow on buying the proposed camp property.
The castle and camp, which Fick told supervisors would be built largely through volunteer labor, would be home to activities for tourists and students, particularly seventh-graders who learn about medieval European history and the Renaissance.
Made largely of wood, the castle would be based on existing style called Monte and Bailey, first seen at a structure built in France in 990.
At the camp, volunteers and docents would have hands-on demonstrations of a number of era-specific activities such as animal husbandry, basket weaving, candle making and leather working. Seven smaller buildings, covering eras from 3500 BC to 1485 AD, would show other aspects of living in their respective eras. And as Fick's partner, Lee Sciocchetti, demonstrated with a longsword he waved in the air before the board, the camp would also include a knight school for budding Sir Galahads.
"These are meant for people to hold a piece of history in their hands," Fick said.
Though the buildings within the castle walls wouldn't be habitable, people could stay at the camp for up to a week in tents outside, meant to represent a castle siege, he said.
Supervisor Hal Stocker, whose district includes the proposed theme camp, said he saw a logical fit for the idea.
"We haven't exploited our history well enough in Yuba County," he said, though recent efforts like the Indigenous Peoples' Days in Sycamore Ranch move in that direction. "I think what you're talking about here would fit very well."
But Supervisor John Nicoletti sounded a bit more skeptical, asking Fick how large a workforce would be necessary to run such an operation.
Fick said many of the people are already involved in businesses such as falconry and horse training would be tied in, and the camp would also host regular renaissance fairs, drawing people from across the state.
"The people involved with this are all very history oriented," Sciocchetti said. "A lot of what we'll be projecting and presenting are things kids don't get in school anymore."
However, Fick said the proposal will take several years to realize. Though some building could happen in the next few years, he said, it could be three to seven years before the camp is hosting regular events.
The county also hasn't received a formal application for the camp, though Fick said he has been in contact with planners and other county officials.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at email@example.com or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.