Are you a member of the SCA Society for creative Anachronism? Have you ever been to Pennsic War?
If you’ve never heard of the Society for Creative Anachronism, it’s…. well, hard to explain. Lots of people come together for a medieval-fest and turn a building, or a huge area, back in time. Think Renaissance Faire on steroids. But in these events they won’t even let you in without proper garb.
And you don’t just get to watch. With training, you become part of the world.
I went to an event once over twenty years ago, and it was quite a treat. It had a big enough impact on me that I still think about it, and I’ve decided to feature a SCA event, the Pennsic War, in one of my novels.
Here’s my problem. I’ve never been to Pennsic War. I am trying to imagine what Cooper’s Lake park in PA looks like when 10,000 (yes, that’s ten-thousand) people from around the world converge on that one campground, to watch and take part as the East Kingdom and the Middle Kingdom meet for a week of tournament and good times. Think Olympics, Medieval style.
Heavy combat, fencing, crossbows. Oh! I get tingles just thinking about it!
Thing is, I can imagine what a campground of people in Medieval garb looks like, but anything I can come up with would just be a really good guess.
So I’m wondering. Have you been to Pennsic War? Or maybe another smaller war-like event?
Here are my questions.
- Does combat start on Friday, or is that just revelry like the opening ceremonies and the good stuff starts on Saturday?
- Do most people stay at the campground?
- Are there ever any non-SCA campers there? Are they freaked out?
- What is it like back at the campground? Do people stay garbed and “in character” for the whole week or two weeks?
- Do combatants get hurt?
- Fencing competition: Do girls fight girls and guys fight guys, or can a championship match be a guy and a girl? (Sorry that was a spoiler)
- From the event I went to, I imagine the rivalry feigned and in good fun. But is that still true? Any side-duels that might not exactly “follow the safety rules”?
- Anything you can give me would be helpful. I want this to be authentic, and do the event justice as the catalyst to send my heroine on her journey.
Oh! Do you have pictures? More pictures will be helpful.
And, as a side note, if any SCA member would like to read the SCA excerpt when I’m done to make sure I “got it” I would be eternally grateful.
(Yeah, that was probably lame. I’m sure I spelled that wrong.)
Find out more about this cool organization here: http://www.sca.org/