It can be a bit intimidating, taking the first steps into a new hobby. We’re here to help – and we were all new once, too. If you have any questions or concerns about what you should bring, or wear, or do, at your first event or activity, please contact our shire’s Chatelain, whose job is to make you as comfortable as possible. It might also be helpful to contact the person organizing the event (called “the autocrat”) if you have concerns about accessibility, suitability of activities for children, or any other questions. Contacts for Autocrats are always listed in the event’s announcement, which you may have found on the shire’s email list, Facebook Page, or the East Kingdom’s events calendar.
Dressing the Part
For meetings and practices, you may wear whatever you wish – we call those “garb optional.” However, for an official event, some attempt at pre-17th-century clothing is required. You might have something suitable already – a kilt, a tunic or long plain shirt you can belt over trousers, a long peasant skirt with a white blouse – things like that. (No one expects you to come in an elaborate, fully authentic ensemble – unless that’s your thing, then you do you!)
We can also loan you something to wear. For this, it’s important to make arrangements in advance with the Chatelain or Autocrat. Most people have extra garb (that’s what we call our “medieval” clothes) and are happy to loan it out for a day-long event.
If you have the ability, feel free to make something to wear to your first event. There are plenty of “sew your own historical clothing” websites out there. Sewing your own garb is by no means required. If sewing isn’t your thing, there are websites selling historical garments – some are better than others, and often, you get what you pay for. As you spend more time with us, you will learn about many different time periods and the styles that accompany each. Your first attempt is just to get you in the door. Don’t let it be an obstacle – as we said above, we can help you.
Dressing in clothing that is not your normal wear will help you cross that border from “observer” to “participant” and will enable you to enjoy a more immersive experience.
Eating at Events
If you’re going to an event, it is a good idea to find out if there will be food at the event. You will usually see two options: dayboard and feast. Dayboard is the term used to describe lunch. Dayboard can be anything from a potluck to a buffet. Sometimes the dayboard is included with the event fee, other times it can be a separate charge. Usually, the event page will let you know, but it is always a good idea to check. Not all events will have a Feast for dinner, but if they do, they are a lot of fun and usually have lots of good food, eaten family-style (served to the table) or as a buffet. Feasts usually have their own fee that is separate from the event fee. Either way, it is expected that you bring your own dining ware to use. For your first event, you don’t need anything fancy. You can use whatever you have in your kitchen at home. Here is a list of what you’ll want to bring:
- Fork, knife, spoon
You will see people at events with more than just these basics: table cloths, candlesticks, cup covers, baskets to carry everything in, etc. Over time, you can look for wooden, pewter, or ceramic ware that fits your persona. Second-hand stores and garage sales are great places to find such things. But, there is no rush.
Is the event you’re going to a camping event? First, do not feel pressured to camp. Even if it’s advertised as a camping event, it’s fine to go just for for the day. If you want to stay overnight, don’t worry about not having period camping gear. Most people use modern equipment, both for their tents and their cooking setup. A few people will spend a lot of time, money and effort to make a very period campsite that looks like it’s from a medieval painting. Don’t feel like you have to reach that level; if period camping is not something that you’re interested in, don’t worry about it. But if you’re intrigued or have questions, feel free to ask – most campers love to show off their accommodations and infrastructure, and it will help you make decisions about your own set-up. As with everything else SCA, you can choose how to use your resources; very little is actually required.
As with anything, if you have questions, please ask! We want you to have a good experience and come back.
(This article was written by Lady Aurelia, and slightly updated by Duchess Marieke.)
Looking for an event to go to? Click here to see what’s coming up on the calendar. Click here for a listing of all the annual events nearby. Already been to an event and looking for more to do to become more involved, check out this page.