Welcome to the Society for Creative Anachronism! There is much to tell and many questions to ask. Please read this page and it may help you to begin to understand some of the terms that are spoken. At the very bottom of the page is a very useful link to the SCA’s parent site welcome page.
Essentials For Your First SCA Event
Society for Creative Anachronism events are enjoyable on several levels, but they can be confusing for newcomers. These hints will help prepare you for attending for the first time.
It’s helpful to talk to your group’s Chatelaine or another experienced member to get started. The only requirements for attending an SCA event are, (1) dress in an approximation of pre-1600 clothing, (2) pay the site fees, and (3) behave in a courteous (and legal) manner.
The event flyer (usually online, always in the monthly newsletter) lists the costs, mailing address, and who to make the check out to. Preregistration is a good idea, especially to reserve a seat at Feast or cabin space–these tend to be limited and often sell out. There’s usually a discount for early preregistration, listed on the flyer. There are also usually discounts for non-Feast (“off-board”), young children, tenting rather than cabins, and day tripping. If you’re not a paid member of the SCA, there will be a $5 surcharge.
The flyer will list ways to contact the Registration-crat for those questions, the Feastocrat if you have allergy or other food issues, and the Autocrat for anything else.
…is your first stop when arriving at the site, where you sign in and pay the event fee if you haven’t preregistered. You’ll need ID, and must sign a site waiver if you aren’t a paid member. Children have special registration requirements–if you aren’t the legal custodian of the child you plan to bring, talk to an experienced member before the event.
One of the most important things you need at an event is some kind of attempt at pre-1600 historical garb. Standards of historical accuracy are not strict. Sweat pants work. Pajama pants, too (Solid colors or plaids. Avoid modern patterns and printing). Sandals or work boots. Modern athletic shoes are ‘iffy;’ avoid them if possible.
There are a number of ways to get yourself some garb:
1. You may be able to borrow garb from individuals or the group’s loaner garb collection.
2. Make your own. There are usually people around who can help you out.
3. Purchase. There are many merchants online, or you may be able to find someone that you can pay to make you some garb.
There are certain items of clothing and accessories which are reserved, and shouldn’t be worn if you’re not entitled to them. Avoid white, red, yellow, and green belts, heavy gold chains (light jewelry, particularly with a pendant or other adornment is ok), and of course, anything resembling a crown. You should also avoid fantasy costuming (goth, fairies, Vulcans, etc.)
1. Cabins–Often available, frequently sell out. Air conditioning, heaters, beds are all good things. Most are large spaces (four to twenty four beds to a room or more) and co-ed. They may or may not be allocated as ‘quiet,’ ‘party,’ or ‘family,’ cabins: ask the Autocrat or at Troll.
2. Camping–the norm. Most people use modern camping equipment; some have historically accurate campsites.
3. Off site–hotels or the like in the vicinity.
4. Daytrip–arrive in the morning and go home late in the day.
Most events feature a tournament or other fighting. Often there will be other activities such as Arts & Sciences competitions, classes, meetings, games and contests, children’s activities, Court, Feast, and often, a dance or revel in the evening. There’s a great deal of just hanging out with friends.
Autocrats and Feastcrats always need help setting up or serving feast, manning Troll, running errands, cleaning up. Volunteering is good.
Events often will have Traveler’s Fare Friday evening (soup or bread & cheese or the like), and breakfast. These are usually provided gratis (though a donation is always welcome). Sunday breakfast is often leftovers. Saturday lunch is frequently done as a fundraising effort, and costs a few dollars.
Feast on Saturday evening is optional (“On board”). Generally the cost is well worth it.
Quality ranges from superb to, umm, questionable, but usually is quite good. A reason to bring snack food.
There is always the option to bring your own food, or go offsite to eat (“Off board”).
The kitchen staff almost always welcome help with preparation or cleanup.
When partaking of any meals, please be sure when you register for the event to let the feastocrat know of any food allergies. Special provisions can often be accommodated for special needs.
Plates, bowls, glasses and utensils are not provided – you are expected to bring your own, and they should look as medieval as possible. At your first event, other members are usually able to lend you feast gear.
Other handy things to have with your feast gear include tablecloth, napkins, salt (if you’re wealthy), candles, matches, and a plastic bag for dirty dishes.
There are lots of titles in the SCA. Referring to anyone as “my lord” or “my lady” is the simplest solution.
Someone wearing a crown deserves at least a token bow or curtsey if you pass within 10 feet.
Court is where Royalty make public presentations and conduct official business– giving awards, making announcements, or anything that strikes the fancy of the Royalty. It usually happens before Feast.
Court begins and ends with the Royalty processing in or out. When the procession starts, you should stand. As the Royalty process in front of you, you should bow or curtsey. The best guide for behavior in court is to follow the lead of the people around you.
The SCA is family-friendly, but parents are expected to be in sight of and have control of their children at all times. A responsible teenager may be designated. If you leave your children at Children’s Activities, please be prompt in picking them up—the volunteers there want to enjoy the event, too.
When You Leave
Make sure you clean up after yourself, so the site owners will welcome the SCA back.
Make sure you return everything you borrowed.
The Autocrat always needs volunteers to help clean up the site.
Useful information for newcomers can also be found at http://welcome.sca.org/. This interactive website can assist even the most confused newbie. As always, the Shire does encourage newcomers to contact us directly and join in on shire meetings, A&S classes, and fighter practices. Participation in these events are not required, but they are highly encouraged!
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