VALPARAISO | Jody Howton prepared to do battle Saturday afternoon at the South Haven Library.
To protect herself during her rapier fight, Howton dressed in a thick Turkish coat and black leather boots.
Howton's sword fight was part of an educational presentation by members of the Society for Creative Anachronism.
SCA members "re-create the Middle Ages," club president Jen Dreessen said. Dressed in styles from the Middle Ages and Renaissance, members attend and host events that feature the culture and traditions of life in Europe between 600 A.D. and 1600 A.D.
"Part of what we do is education," Dreessen said. "But we also do this for fun. It's for our own enjoyment."
SCA members at the library program dressed in costume, demonstrated sword fights and displayed medieval clothing, headgear, body armor, shields, weapons and games.
"I wanted to play with swords, honestly," Howton said, explaining how she became interested in SCA.
Safety is most important, Dreessen said, and that's why members' weapons all have a blunt or cushioned tip.
Dreessen wore leather body armor, leather boots, steel and aluminum elbow and knee protectors, a tunic and a 10-pound metal Viking-style helmet, or "helm."
Most members usually make their own clothing, armor and weapons.
Each member usually chooses a period name as well. Dreessen's SCA name is Quenild of Mercia.
"It's an official 14th century name," Dreessen said.
Dreessen said SCA "tends to draw type-A personalities." Members often perform and "get out in front of people."
She said they often get funny looks from outsiders.
"People will ask us if we're in a play," Dreessen said. "We get used to it."
Dreessen said the group hosts a spring festival at Sunset Hill Park in Valparaiso and a fall festival at Lake Station High School. SCA members also host a belly dancing class Wednesday evenings at Taltree Arboretum in Valparaiso.
Lynn Poe, of Valparaiso, said the time period SCA members re-create interests her and her family. Poe said she and her husband actually became engaged at the Bristol Renaissance Fair in Wisconsin.
Poe brought her son Kyler, 10, to the presentation.
"I wanted to show him what it's like," Poe said. "We're looking at getting more into it."