Pennsic War 2017

It was Pennsic War week last week, my favorite time of  year. You can never expect a week at War to be any particular way. It’s always changing, and there’s always new adventures.

I was kept very busy this year, so there aren’t a ton of pictures for me to share, so this is a text-based post.

This year I was in charge of the kitchen which was certainly a new adventure. We made lots of yummy food on the cast iron and our 3-burner propane camp stove. I have some fun plans for next year, if I help again, now that I know the lay of the land.

One of  the best parts of my War was serving pancakes. At the bottom of the hill from our camp is a gypsy camp that serves food late at night throughout the week. They are perhaps most famous for serving grilled cheese sandwiches. I love to feed people, and when I roam about, I think the people serving always look like they are having the most fun, so I asked my group if they would mind me serving pancakes out of the front of our camp (since we’re right on a main route) to the wanderers who rambled by. It. Was. A. Blast.

We’re already planning on this for next year and fancy table banners are in the works!

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Tournament of Love and Beauty

Saturday I went to the SCA event I had been looking forward to – the Tournament of Love and Beauty.

I’m truly enjoying these smaller events. It’s easier to focus on what is happening, to pay attention to the fine work as these events are on a much smaller scale and less overwhelming than Pennsic.

A dear friend was honored in a small ceremony where she became apprenticed (this may not be the correct term) to a Pelican. I’d try to explain what a Pelican is, but I fear it would be confusing, so I’ll let the website here explain.

It was so nice to see some friends, both from my household and a group we neighbor with at Pennsic. I watched a little of the fighting, sang in a bardic competition, and entered the arts and science competition.

There has been some conversation on a friend’s Facebook page about arts and science competitions and their merits. I’ve thought a lot about this, but with my being a novice, I hesitated to chime in. I’ll leave my thoughts here though. I like the chance and excuse to dig into something specifically with a goal to recreate it. I enjoy  researching and designing a project for a specific purpose and then sharing the knowledge I learn along the way. My things are crude at this stage, but I like to put them out there as a “Hey, I learned about a neat thing and tried my best to make a version of it and holy cow! How did they do this in medieval times?!” It may introduce something new to another person. By looking at others’ displays and entries, I learn as well.

My projects for this event were a comb and mirror, both items which were commonly given as love tokens in the 1300s.

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My Display

 

To War!

I don’t believe I’ve mentioned our yearly vacation yet on this blog, which is surprising since I’m usually working on something for it.

When my fellow first asked me if I wanted to go on a two-week long camping trip, my answer was an absolute NO.

He then explained to me about the SCA and his Household (camping group).

For those who aren’t familiar with the SCA, I’ll borrow a description from Wikipedia: “The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) is an international living history group with the aim of studying and recreating mainly Medieval European cultures and their histories before the 17th century.”

His group camps more on a “glamping” level. We have a full shower with on-demand hot water and a pretty intense kitchen set-up. Period tents are suggested but not required. We just upgraded from a dome mundane (not period) tent to a still mundane but more acceptable and convenient canvas Kodiak tent.

The event we attend is the Pennsic War. It is usually just called Pennsic and is held at Cooper’s Lake Campground near Pittsburgh. Pennsic is two weeks long; the first week is Peace Week, and the second week is War Week. I only go for the second week.

Throughout the entire event there are classes, shopping, and parties. During War Week, fighters get to participate in several battles or tournaments. There are also arts and science displays. There is truly something for everyone!

One of the requirements for this event is that you make a “reasonable attempt” at garb (clothing). I have been building up my basic garb wardrobe and updating the Fellow’s. Most of our household focuses on Viking or Middle Eastern cultures. I’m leaning more towards German or English, so I’m still researching and finding inspiration.

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I want to start playing in the SCA more. I’m excited to try to make it out to some other events throughout the year. I would like to do an arts and science exhibit at War next year, so I’m pondering things for that, and I’m looking for a bow to pick up for archery.

It’s magical to step away from civilization and live in the past for a week or two. You can meander dirt paths lit by torches or stroll around the lake by moonlight to the sound of distant drum circles. There is amazing food and music. There is dancing and wandering performers. You hear “MiLord” or “Milady” and see royals being bowed to in the market place. It’s an absolutely captivating, exhausting, amazing week, and I’m so ready for next year.

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