Events are what we do everything else for, choosing garb or learning to fight, so we can go and pretend we are in the Middle Ages for a day, a weekend, or a whole week. For some people an event is the first time they have contact with the SCA, for others they’ve attended several meetings and practices before ever going to an event.
Types of events
You will have more fun at your first event, if you do a little reading first. The Popular Chivalry (Meridies’ Kingdom newsletter) will provide event and general information; it’s laid out in chronological order. The flyers will include the dates of the event, a description of the kind of event, directions to the site, a theme, and sometimes a schedule. The flyer will also have contact information for the Event Steward (the person in charge of the event), the Feast Steward (the person in charge of the kitchen) and where to send your reservation. There are some things to know before you go to an event. The first thing to consider is which type of event to go to.
Most events have a theme; sometimes there will be more than one theme or activity available. Some are classroom or teaching events, called “Collegiums.” These can include a wide variety of topics on any of the activities offered within the SCA. There are also events which are mostly geared to fighting. And some are ceremonial in nature, such as Coronation. Then there are inter-Kingdom events called wars - such Gulf Wars, Border Raids and Panhandle Skirmishes - where fighting takes place alongside of classes, and people travel from surrounding Kingdoms to participate.
Some events are designated as a Royal Progress, which is an event the King, Queen, Prince or Princess will be attending. The Royal Progress is noted with a gold crown or a large crown next to the event announcement. The events with the silver crown or small crowns are ones which the Heirs (Prince and Princess) will be attending. Generally Court occurs at these events and that usually means awards will be given out, perhaps someone you know will be a recipient (see the section on Court). These events have a larger turnout and usually have meetings on the schedule. If the Royals cross your path within 10 feet, it is polite to show deference with bow or curtsey. The King and Queen are addressed as “Your Majesty”; the Prince and Princess are addressed as “Your Highness”. There is no reason to be shy of attending a Royal Progress, the pomp and circumstance can make it great fun!
Special Thoughts for Newcomers
Events are where people gather in garb to fight in a tournament, watch the tournament, work on small projects and chat with each other, and usually to enjoy some food. Since events are meant to attract attendees from throughout the Kingdom, the hosting group will expect to see unfamiliar faces, they will not automatically know that you are new, and they may be busy with the chores of running the event. So people may not make a point of introducing themselves and helping you to get started. For some people being new is less difficult because they are comfortable approaching strangers to start a conversation, for many others it is not easy. Ask if there are others from your group attending the same event and see if you can hang out with them.
Attend practices and meetings beforehand so that you will know a few people before you arrive at the event. Smaller events are often easier for newcomers. At a Collegium you will be able meet the people in your classes in a small group setting and you will learn more about the SCA.
The best answer is to get involved!!! Offer assistance in the kitchen (just go to the kitchen door and ask to be put to work), they can ALWAYS use more help. You will get to know some of the people, and they will welcome and respect your contribution. Introduce yourself as a newcomer and ask people what they are wearing, what they are working on, what the various badges they are wearing mean, etc. It is a good way to start a conversation, and you will learn more about the SCA.