Thunderous Hooves and Shining Armor Mark the Return of Jousting at Saline Celtic Festival


Andre Renier, Chevalier of Chivalry. Courtesy of Saline Celtic Festival

Step right up, ladies and gentlemen, but not too close, and prepare to be dazzled at this year's Saline Celtic Festival. The main attraction is none other than jousting knights galloping full tilt at each other with lowered lances and nerves of steel. On Saturday, July 8, at the Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds just beyond Saline, the heart-stopping spectacle of the Contact Jousting Competition unfolds.

“The Jousting Tournament is a crowd-favorite and always a thrilling spectacle,” said Melissa Lee, from the Festival Advisory Committee and Field Performers Chair. “We're truly fortunate this year to have three equestrian events—it's action that simply can't be missed!”

Imagine this: the earth-shattering gallop of horses, the ear-splitting collision of lances, and the eye-catching glimmer of armor. The gallant 'Knights' hail from the all-volunteer team, The Martial Horse, fondly referred to as the "home of military horsemanship." Guided by their indomitable leader, Andre Renier, famously known as "The Chevalier of Chivalry," they will take to the field at 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.

This exciting display isn't just for show. The Mounted Martial Equestrian Games infuse elements from millennia of military, law enforcement, and cavalry horse training. These include aspects of Dressage, Jumping, Law Enforcement, Cavalry, and of course, Jousting.

But the excitement doesn't stop there. The Historic Competition participants, taking the stage on Friday, July 7 at 5 p.m., will exhibit their prowess with swords, ancient firearms (blanks, of course), jumping, and horse maneuvers.

There's also the Mounted Law Enforcement Competition on Thursday, July 6. While it's technically not part of the festival, it's happening while volunteers are busily setting up for the main event. This display emphasizes equitation and real-world obstacles, offering a unique perspective on the rigors of mounted patrol. Feel free to drop by—just remember to bring your own comforts like blankets or lawn chairs, as well as your favorite refreshments.

The riveting spectacle of jousting traces its roots back to the medieval times, specifically to the military practices of the 11th century. Originating as a war game among knights in various European countries, jousting was initially a form of combat training that provided a way for knights to hone their horsemanship, accuracy, and combat skills. The word 'joust' itself derives from the Old French 'jouste,' which means 'to fight' or 'battle.' Over time, this martial exercise evolved into a chivalric sport, becoming the highlight of grand tournaments where knights would compete for honor, glory, and occasionally, the favor of a lady.

Here's what you need to know for your visit:

Venue: Washtenaw Farm Council Grounds, 5055 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. Friday, July 7: 5 p.m.-midnight: adults $8, ages 6-17 $5, at the gate. Saturday, July 8: 10 a.m.-midnight: $15 advance (advance sales end June 30), $18 at gate; ages 65+ $8 advance, $10 at gate; ages 6-17 $5; free age 5 and under, and active military; group packages available. Free parking is available on-site. Visit and also Facebook for more information. Have questions or comments? Email Want to be part of the action? Volunteers are welcome and even get a free pass! Email
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