The knights of Calvert County meet at high noon to compete on the lists at historic Christ Church on Broomes Island Road.
No, it's not a bloody battle. The knights must catch three small rings on their lance while travelling at a full gallop.
Charge, Sir Knight! And, occasionally, Charge, Fair Maid! The Calvert County Joust is an equal opportunity tournament.
The History of The Last Saturday in Augustby Anne Whisman, Editor, Reprinted from an article in Calvert County Life, August 1980
It's always hot. It almost never rains.
It's the day they hold the annual Calvert County Jousting Tournament on the grounds of Christ Church in Port Republic.
Dinner used to cost 50 cents (at least in 1937). In 1938 it jumped to 60 cents. By 1941 it was 75 cents. Four years ago (1976) it was $4. This year (1980) they are wavering between $6 and $8.
There used to be a ball afterward.
There is no ball now, not since 1965.
Some still speak of it as the "Mutual Homecoming Tournament" although it has not been held in Mutual since 1957, and the building once known as Mutual Hall was deeded to the County Commissioners in 1957 and has since burned to the ground.
And it is not a Homecoming, Father Bill Plummer, rector of Christ Church Parish states emphatically. Years ago they decided to delete the word "Homecoming" so that "no visitor would think mistakenly that the tournament was reserved only for native sons and daughters."
But it is for Betty Briscoe, whose late husband, Dr. Everard Briscoe, had a hand (with John S. Williams, records say,) in 1934, in revitalizing the annual event which had been a more or less regular event since 1866 - just after the Civil War - (or the War Between the States, depending on where you grew up.)
When Dr. Briscoe died, Betty kept on with the Tournament for a couple or maybe four or five years, and so she may be forgiven if, for her, it continues to mean an occasion when a lot of folks who have drifted away from Calvert County come back to cheer on their favorite horses and riders, and enjoy the deviled crab, country ham and fried chicken dinners, and shop the fascinating little boutiques which spring up overnight all over the Christ Church parking lot, and then sit in the cool of the evening on the porches on Main Street, fanning and eating ice cream and remembering who built which house and which one of whose daughters married who else's third cousin, and keeping alive the funny anecdotes which get re-told every year, and remembering the people who aren't back this year.
But there are a lot of people who
do come who aren't coming home at all, but maybe wish they were - and the
crowd changes just as the riders change. Betty Briscoe goes through piles
of old photographs and tells you who the fine-looking riders are Doug Parran,
whose horse was the admiration of everyone - still is as far as can be
told - and Nat Sollers, and the Weems brothers and it is a little hard
to know which moment in time is represented by the various splendid looking
riders caught in identical poses riding at full gallop to impale the little
rings on their spears thus proving their right to crown with flowers a
chosen queen of love and beauty.