You don’t have to go to Europe to see a real castle. Or visit England to see a Queen named Elizabeth. Castle Gwynn is a real castle located in Arrington, Tennessee right outside of Triune. It’s white towers and copper roofs glow every evening from the light of the setting sun. Once a year, in May, the grounds are opened as part of the Tennessee Renaissance Festival, where fairies cavort and jousters knock each other from noble steeds as the mighty Queen Elizabeth looks on. The 34- year-old festival and massive castle began as the dream of one man, Mike Freeman.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Mike and getting the story behind the festival and Castle Gwynn.
1. Why did you start the Renaissance Festival?
After Mike met a man who built a castle in Ohio and attended a renaissance festival, he was forever inspired to build his own castle and create a festival to share with the community
2. What was the inspiration behind Castle Gwynn?
Inspired by postcards his father brought back as “spoils of war’ during World War II, when Mike Freeman was a small child he’d look at those cards and tell people he was going to live in a castle when he grew up. A prime example of what persistence of vision can do, Freeman does just that. He lives in Castle Gwynn in Arrington, Tennessee. Home to the Tennessee Renaissance Festival.
3. Renaissance Festival is a huge undertaking; what kinds of challenges have you faced putting on such a large event?
The Tennessee Renaissance Festival began because one man – Mike Freeman – wanted to share his beautiful castle home with the community. To get it started he faced many trials, but at the end of the day, when a small child gets excited over the results of a joust and claps in joy, all the toil is worth it.
4. Taylor Swift filmed a music video at Castle Gwynn – what was that like?
Ten years ago, a production company came to Castle Gwynn to make a music video. It was quite an event for owner Mike Freeman. The young woman in the video was then an unknown named Taylor Swift. The rest, they say, is history. It won all the music awards and made her a star.