Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery in Stockholm, WI holds a ceremony called the Wassailing of the trees to encourage the cider apple trees to produce plenty of fruit in the coming year and to ward off evil spirits. This year, they held their 4th Medieval Feast in conjunction with this Wassailing event.
We decided to go to this thing and see what it was all about. We headed to Stockholm, about an hour and a half from our home in Saint Paul on Saturday morning. We were expecting some snow in the afternoon and evening, but the roads were dry in the morning when we headed out. On the first Saturday of December each year, Stockholm holds their annual “Country Christmas.” We stopped at the Stockholm Pie Company for a slice of pie before going to a couple of shops. This is what we saw when we walked outside…
We headed to the Great River Amish Inn in Pepin, WI, a few miles down the road, where we would spend the night. We had a little time to rest and get ready before heading to the Medieval Feast. While we were in at the inn, it started to snow. By the time we left, there was already two or three inches of snow on the ground and the roads were getting slick.
Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery is located on top of a bluff, so you have to drive up a long winding hill to get up there. We tried the usual way, through Stockholm, and made it halfway up the hill before losing traction. I dropped the car into first hear, but still had too much torque to keep the tires from spinning. We knew there was another way to get to the top. We drove a few miles to get to the other side of the hill. We drove steadily up the hill and finally made it to the top. We gave ourselves 40 minutes to drive about 6 miles and it ended up taking us over an hour.
Once we arrived at the feast, we were offered hats to wear to make it feel more like we were back in the middle ages of Southern England. Mistress Ally, Royal Milliner of the Enchanted Hats took one look at my bearded face and proclaimed “You look like a wizard!” I responded with a “right on.” At least I wasn’t a jester.
There was plenty of music and entertainment provided by the Laughing Hearts Pub Band. Here’s a stick juggling performance by one of the members of the band, who also plays a mean didgeridoo.
Before the meal, there was a presentation of 3 boars heads. It was a little strange, but here you go…
Next came the meal. It was a 5 course dinner with many dishes featuring Maiden Rock apples. The wassail was flowing freely as well.
There was a staged trial of 3 people for treason. They were all found guilty and were given 4 choices to try to avoid beheading. The choices were:
- Juggle with turkey leg bones
- Perform a song with turkey leg bones
- 10 years of indentured servitude
- Off their wife for the pleasure of the court
The ringleader of the traitors chose option 2. Here’s how he did: (My favorite part is when a piece of turkey meat flies off the leg bone and Jen the didgeridoo playing stick juggler bends down and picks up the meat and eats it.)
Finally, the evening ended with the Wassailing of the Trees and a bonfire. The commentary on this video is provided by Herdie Baisden, owner of the Maiden Rock Winery & Cidery. The snow was still falling, which made for quite an impressive sight.
The next morning, when we left to come back home, everything was covered in a blanket of white and it looked like this: