RICHLAND -- Bo is one handsome steed.
He stood with his head high while his silky, chocolate brown coat glistened in the afternoon sun Saturday as he prepared for battle at the Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire at Howard Amon Park in Richland.
Nyssa Baugher of Seattle is Bo's owner. She loans him out occasionally to the Seattle Knights, an organization that performs sword fighting and jousting exhibitions at medieval faires around the Northwest.
Bo might be a 21-year-old quarter horse, but he has the muscled body of a thoroughbred, the magnificent head of an Arabian, and the mighty heart of a war horse, Baugher said.
"He's actually a very gentle soul," she added. "Until he sees a lance coming at him. He'll snarl and show his teeth when the competition is on."
And when his rider gives the go ahead, Bo's head tilts down, his nostrils flare and he charges forward at breakneck speed hoping his rider can will knock the opposition off his horse.
Bo wowed the crowd as much as the Seattle Knights entertained the hundreds of visitors that dropped by the park Saturday.
Bo will do his thing again today when the faire continues, beginning with a parade at 9:45 a.m. featuring minstrels, jugglers, knights, maidens, dancers, gypsies, tarot card readers and pirates, along with the virgin queen herself, Elizabeth I, and her court.
Admission is $9 for teens and adults, and $7 for kids 5-12. Tickets at the gate.
A visit to the renaissance faire is packed with something for the whole family.
"I really like this event because it's a true family affair," said Janet Parsons, from Lewiston.
Darragh Metzger, whose husband Dameon is the director and owner of the Seattle Knights, said the knights three jousting/swordfighting/swashbuckling shows -- at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. today -- pay tribute this year to their comrade John Moore, who died in March while working on an internet film.
Moore, a former Tri-Citian, spent many years with the Seattle Knights before his death. He was popular with fairgoers and his absence from his hometown's renaissance faire is bittersweet, Metzger said.
"John never missed a show," she said. "He was only in his early 40s when he died and we all miss him. He was just an incredible performer, art director, actor, comedian and swordsman. He was simply born too late because he was a true renaissance man."
The Seattle Knights have been mainstays at the Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire for nearly two decades. The troupe is decked out in medieval trappings that give visitors a sense of traveling back in time when armor was a sign of greatness, honor and bloody battles.
But knights aren't the only entertaining factor at the faire. There's her serene highness Princess Tatianna, portrayed by the event's director Marjorie Kunigisky.
Some medieval types call Princess Tatianna the devil's daughter, as she has a passion for scattering pixie dust while showing visitors how a needle floating on a slim piece of wood in a bowl of water will always point north.
There are charming puppet shows, Shakespearean plays, jugglers, and storytellers galore. And the music will make you want to dance. You can also visit with Queen Elizabeth I when she holds court throughout the day.
"It's been a great day, not too hot and lots of people," said Korry Watkins, a Kennewick actor.
For this year's faire, Watkins can be identified on the park grounds as the puritan Francis Walsingham, the queen's chief spy and witch accuser.
So if you're up for a bit of history and a park full of strangely dressed people who talk in a Shakespearean vernacular, then head over to Howard Amon Park and take a step back in time.
And as long as Bo isn't champing at the bit to unseat a knight, he'll will be glad to show you his teeth.