Gulf Wars returns for 31st year with new site ownership

Gulf Wars Festival attracts hundreds
Published: Mar. 16, 2023 at 10:43 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - On the second week of March, people of all ages in medieval garb travel to the Pine Belt to attend the annual Gulf Wars, an event for the Society for Creative Anachronism hobbyists with interest in historical arts and crafts, activities and more.

“... We have over 3,000 participants coming from all over the world (from the) United States, Canada and even from across the ocean, Australia and New Zealand,” said Megan Barnes, media liaison. “They will come down to Lumberton to participate in our medieval reenactments, where we have armor combat battles, we have historical fencing battles, we even have people who will take classes on arts and sciences. Everything from calligraphy to illumination to weaving and costume making, anything that would have been done pre-17th century, we recreate here at this age, here at this event.”

This year marks the 31st the event has been hosted. While many features are similar to those in the past, there has been an important change.

The location the war traditionally has been hosted on, Kings Arrow Ranch, has recently come under new ownership. It is now owned by Kim Cooper from Titan Home Loans LLC and Brian Schlautman from Keller Williams Realty.

“I had a friend who saw it go active and sent me a letter and said, ‘Hey, you should buy this,’ as a joke,” said Schlautman. “We talked about it, ‘So, why not?’ We flipped property; we rehabilitated a lot of stuff for the community…

"... and It has a great community with the SCA that comes with some of the past history, and we’re hoping to get that reset, bringing (it) back to life.”

The property was bought around the fall of 2022. There have also been updates and improvements to buildings and facilities on site.

Schlautman said he wanted to continue hosting the event at the site, and the community has been a great help in easing them into their first event.

“The new owners have come in (and) they have made a lot of improvements to the site,” said Barnes. “And I’m very happy to see these improvements. A lot of facilities have been updated; however, change with change comes a few growing pains.

“However, all of our attendees have taken these changes in stride with grace and chivalry and all these values that we as a society have hold.”

The event started on Saturday, March 11, and will end on Sunday, March 19. The gates will close to the public on Saturday, March 18, at noon.

While the event is open to the public with admission, all attendees are asked to dress in a pre-seventeenth-century costume, which can be purchased on-site.

“So, someone who is interested in something like this can go to and find their local group,” Barnes said. “There is no cost to join your local group, (and) all you need is a healthy interest and anything medieval, anything pre-17th century. Find your local group, go start asking questions and just get into it. Find your interest.”

For more information about Gulf Wars XXXI, click HERE.

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