February 01, 1999
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts February 1999 Current Issue
February 1999
Short Cuts:

The trumpet fanfare sounds and handsome knights on regal steeds proudly enter the arena. Generally, they stand for all that is good and just in the kingdom. But on some days, they represent a terrific sales force overcoming evil competitors or various corporate regions battling it out for top honors.

At Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament castles around the country, standard shows for the public rabble consist of performances by Andalusian stallions, a jousting tournament, hand-to-hand combat between the “knights of the realm” and a battle with an enemy knight, all overseen by a king and his queen. Six knights compete, and spectators, sitting in special sections, cheer for the knight who wears their colors.

Yet, many organizations have rewritten the show, complete with fanfare and pageantry, to fit their own story. “For an insurance company meeting of 2,000, we put tables down on the arena floor and the sections represented all the sales regions,” says Joann Ciancitto, director of sales for the Lyndhurst, N.J., castle. “We had a knight for each region and had mini-fights between them.”

For a bank, about 600 people attended a meeting complete with big-screen video presentations in the arena before the show, then enjoyed hors d’oeuvres at the bar and came back to the arena for the festivities. They were greeted by a parade of sales managers dressed in knights’ costumes. The winning knight represented the bank, and the evil knight represented its competitors. Attendees received sword-shaped letter openers as souvenirs.

For employee recognition programs, winners can be knighted in an elaborate pre-show ceremony, adds Ciancitto. Medieval Times customizes shows for groups of 600 or more. The firm’s other six castles are in the kingdoms of Dallas; Toronto; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Buena Park, Calif.; Kissimmee, Fla.; and Schaumburg, Ill. Call (888) WE-JOUST for information or visit the Web site: (


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