Medieval Times 'ready to roll' early

LAWRENCEVILLE - Although you eat with your hands, dinner in a Medieval Times castle is no casual affair. Guests receive a formal welcome from the king himself and witness a joust between royal knights as they dine on a four-course meal.

And Gwinnett residents will get to experience this entire extravaganza two weeks earlier than expected. The newest and largest Medieval Times castle will open at the Discover Mills mall on July 21, two weeks earlier than expected.

Medieval Times Marketing Manager Danielle Weiden said the first show was originally scheduled for Aug. 4, but an early finish to construction allowed the company to move up the opening show.

"All of horses and all of our knights are here," she said. "We're ready to roll."

An early performance will be held on July 20 to thank the contractors for their work on the project, Weiden said.

The more than 200 employees at the Discover Mills Medieval Times don't simply serve customers dinner. The goal is to create a medieval environment within the castle walls. Even the show's script is based on historical documents chronicling the life of a royal family in Spain.

"Everyone who deals with the public is essentially an 11th century character," Weiden said.

The new Medieval Times is connected to the Discover Mills mall on Sugarloaf Parkway. Construction consisted of adding a castle facade to the current structure and digging an 18-foot pit to create a jousting arena.

Over the course of about two hours, actors put on a show that includes swordfighting, falconry and jousting on the backs of Andalusian stallions.

Tickets cost $47.95 for adults and $35.95 for children. For an additional $8, guests can get a seat in the first three rows of the arena, a banner and a DVD souvenir.

On the average week, one show is scheduled each day from Monday to Thursday, with two shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.