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Family, fun and other F-words

First annual Bows in the Park event this Saturday

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As an American society we are naturally trained to believe in family values. We don't always like it, but we suffer through because "we are family." Don't get me wrong I love my family and would take a bullet for any one of them, but sometimes I have to remind myself how much I love them, as do we all. This love could be shown in a number of different ways. Some families have a family game night, watch football together on Sundays, or set aside some sort of family time to bring everyone together. The cell phones get put up for one evening to enjoy each others company. What if there was a way that we could enjoy family time, but get the aggression out at the same time? Seems like a farfetched thought, but not impossible.

Jeff Stwart is a medieval times enthusiast, and in my opinion a genius innovator. He started a group called the War Club which is a group that promotes medieval style warfare using foam based weapons as a sport. They get together dressed in proper medieval attire, and have sword fights, play capture the flag, and other warfare like games that are historically accurate. As nerdy as it sounds its pretty amazing what these guys come up with as far as games and attire. Jeff and his team make all of the weapons by hand, and uses them in events and meetings.  His team is mostly family, and members of the club. However he does host workshops to show youth how to make weapons. Kids that can't afford equipment can come to Jeff's classes and he will show them how to make arrows and bows. He tells the kids that they can build three arrows, and keep one.

This Saturday, Jeff is taking everything he, and his team have made to Wright Park for their first annual Bows In The Park event. He's inviting anyone from ages 14 to 80 to come join him in some combat archery. Combat Archery is a like paintball, but instead of paintballs and guns, they use bows, and padded arrow tips. He has made about 22 long bows. About the size of a youth bow. He also has made crossbows for this event. He tried to make a product that was user friendly to all ages, and skill sets. "My goal here is to bring the whole family out to play in the park." Says Jeff. All this event cost is time with your family. Which you were going to spend anyway but instead of playing Monopoly, you're shooting each other with arrows. Personally I would take option B. You can check out all of Jeff's free events, at  

Bows In The Park, noon-3 p.m., Saturday, March 4, free, Wright Park, 501 S. I St.,   

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