Read the event announcement carefully. Look for all the details about the schedule, about what is allowed at this event such as pets or alcohol, and about the fee structure. Check the location to make certain it is a place you can get to.
Reservations are a good idea. Particularly if you want a seat at feast, many are limited in size and sell out in advance. Also if you use a medical device (such as a CPAP), the Event Stewart needs to know because not all cabins have electrical outlets; bring an outlet splitter or an extension cord with more than one outlet. If you will not be attending the feast or if there isn’t one, it is okay to arrive that day and register at the gate. To make a reservation, you will need to mail a check made out to the sponsoring group for your fees for the weekend and include a copy of your membership card if you have one. This should be mailed at least 10 days prior to the event.
When you arrive at the event site, look for a Troll sign. Troll is where you sign in and pay your fees if you didn’t send in a reservation. You will need to sign a waiver, for yourself and any minor children that are with you, unless you are member and have a blue card (which signifies that the SCA has a waiver on file for you). Nonmembers also pay a $5 surcharge along with the entry fee. There is an additional waiver to be signed for each minor attending the event who doesn’t have a blue card. You may be given a site or feast token, this shows that you paid your fees.
What to bring:
1. Directions to the event.
2. Identification (photo ID); not always necessary, but it’s good to be prepared
3. SCA Membership cards
4. Garb, two changes if you’re staying for the weekend. You can dress before leaving home, or use the changing room after you arrive.
5. Modern clothes to wear for the trip home.
6. Cloak, if you will not be leaving until the evening
7. Pouch, basket, or some means of carrying your “stuff”
8. Possibly a pen/pencil and a some paper
9. Money, in case you owe fees at the gate, or you would like to shop at the merchants, or to pay small fees at classes such as for handouts, or kits (the teachers are volunteers also, no one is covering the cost of supplies for them).
10. Something to occupy yourself if you have downtime.
11. Drinks, snacks, lunch
12. Feast gear, if you are having feast; just a mug if you aren’t staying for feast
13. Sheets or a sleeping bag and a pillow if the site has cabins. If it’s a camping event, you will need a tent, a cot or air mattress, bedding and a pillow.
14. Toiletries, bath towel, washcloth and any medication you will need
15. A chair or a blanket to sit on during the tournament.
16. Sunscreen or a hat
A lot of the sites we use are State Parks and some require an entry fee of $1 or $2 usually it’s collected at Troll. Cabins sleep from 4 to 40 people. Large cabins (lodges) usually have bunk beds and a bathroom in the center. Many people bring extra sheets to drape around their bunk using large safety pins or clothes pins for a little privacy. If you have trouble sleeping when there is noise, ear plugs are a good idea. Generally, folks try to be quiet while others are sleeping. Heralds make announcements during the event, this includes wake-up calls.
On board, off board
These terms can be confusing and you will see these words as part of the fee schedule on the event announcements. The term “board” is old terminology in which a table laden with food was referred to as a “board” or sometimes as a “groaning board” if the amounts of food are great. This comes from the style of table often used in the Middle Ages, in which a board over two trestles (fancy sawhorses) served as the table. This allowed them to completely dismantle and move the table when the meal was over to allow for dancing and other merriments.
In the SCA, “on board” means that you will be staying for feast and paying the fee for feast. “Off board” means the opposite, you will not be sharing feast. On board usually includes breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. Lunch is generally not included. Some events have fund raiser lunches, these are generally $5 for a sandwich or stew, chips or some sort of salad and fruit or dessert. If the flyer doesn’t state that there will be a fund raiser lunch, then assume that you should provide your own.
When you arrive at the event, ask about the seating chart. If there is one it will be available at the gate as you troll in. This chart will be a layout of the tables as they will be set for the feast. There will be spaces for individuals to sign up for where they want to sit. If this is your first feast, feel free to ask for help finding good table mates. Most tables at SCA feasts seat 8-10 people, so most likely you will have company at your table. Sometimes the seating chart is not available until later in the day, but they will be able to tell you that at Troll. Sign up early to make sure your party is able to sit together.