Knights fought with swords, a noble steed pranced, and the anachronistic tinge clearly was intended.
Officials from Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament gathered Friday, April 6, with members of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community to ceremonially begin work on the chain’s Phoenix-area location, which will be its 10th.
The 11th-century vibe celebrated the groundbreaking of Medieval Times, a dinner theater that still packs them in after 35 years and nearly 100,000 shows in the U.S.
By early 2019, a 79,000-square-foot castle will open on the southeast corner of Pima Road and Via de Ventura near Scottsdale, welcoming all to feast utensil-free on a four-course dinner while watching knights battle for queen and color. (Spectators cheer based on the tint of their assigned sections.)
Knights battle it out at the groundbreaking of Medieval Times near Scottsdale.
It’s the latest addition to the Indian community’s Talking Stick Entertainment District, which includes Odysea Aquarium, Topgolf and the Pangaea Land of Dinosaurs.
It took more than two years of work to finalize the location, the first new Medieval Times to be built since 2006.
Perico Montaner, president and CEO of Medieval Times, said the Phoenix area was a “slam dunk” when it came time to selecting the theater’s newest location. He pointed to the region’s strong economy and growing population.
“The numbers told the story, and we just followed the numbers,” Montaner said at the groundbreaking, adding that his team considered two to three other areas in metro Phoenix before choosing the 10 acres at Talking Stick. “This has a great access, great location. And we worked hard to get it.”
Friday’s festivities included a short battle between the Green Knight (Jim Collins) and the Red and Yellow Knight (Tim Baker).
The carefully choreographed sword fight valued safety as much as action, which would probably earn derision from true 11th-century combatants but garnered applause from the small crowd.
(The fight was won by Baker who, perhaps not coincidentally, is the stunt choreographer for the chain.)
Medieval Times’ dinner-theater formula hasn’t changed much since the company was founded in 1977 in Spain. And that’s precisely why the franchise remains popular enough to support another location, Montaner said.
“It’s filled with action and not very sophisticated,” he said. “It’s easy to follow. You’re encouraged to scream and cheer for your knight. That works today as well as it did when it was started.”
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