The life blood of the Society consists of the various events we hold.
The purpose of this brief paper is to help you, the newcomer, understand what we do so you can more easily participate in these events.
First of all, in the Kingdom of Caid, there is almost always an event every weekend of the year, somewhere within easy driving distance. We will explain how you can find out about these events, and then take a little time to discuss them individually.
How To Find Out About Events
There are several sources that you can use to find out about events, but most of these are only known to members since the Society rarely does outside advertising
When you become a paying member of the SCA, you will begin to receive your Kingdom’s Newsmagazine, In Caid, this is called the Crown Prints (or “CP”). This newsletter will provide event and general information. It is laid-out in chronological order, listing events in the order in which they will take place. Generally, the “CP” lists events for a period of sixty days with the larger events being given a longer advance notice. As you read through the “CP” you can take notice of events that interest you. Most of the events will have a notice that takes up a quarter or a half page; and the listing will include the date, a description of what kind of event is going to take place (such as a “Baronial Anniversary”), a set of written directions so that you can easily locate the site, a “schedule” so that you can plan your arrival time, and the event “theme” (such as a “Celtic Tourney”). The listing will include the name and phone number of the “Autocrat” who will be running the event. This is provided so that readers can obtain additional information by phone.
While I am on the subject of the Kingdom Newsmagazine, I should also mention a section known as the “Regnum“.
This section contains the names of the Kingdom officers and guild heads, and the major officers in your Barony, Shire, or Canton. If you need to talk to an officer in your local area, such as the Chatelaine or the Constable, the “CP” is the first place to look to find a phone number. If the officer you are trying to reach is not listed you can always contact the Seneschal.
The second place to find out about events is your local Chatelaine’s office. This office generally prepares a “calendar” to be distributed during newcomer’s meetings. These calendars list upcoming events for at least the next 30 days, maybe longer. Even if you’re not a newcomer, the Chatelaine’s office will be happy to provide you with a calendar.
The third place to obtain information, especially concerning local meetings (such as dance practices, embroidery workshops, costume classes, etc.) is the local newsletter. These newsletters are published on almost all local levels of the SCA.. Since the submission deadlines are so different, the local newsletter will often contain more current information than is possible in the “CP”.
Please note that you will not automatically receive any local newsletter as part of your paid SCA membership… This will require a separate subscripton.. Local newsletters will provide a lot of extra information, such as the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all local officers and contact persons for the various special interest groups (e.g. the local Captain of Archery, the local Brewmaster, the Dance Mistress, etc.). There will almost always be a more detailed calendar than that published at Kingdom level.
The kinds of SCA events:
As might be expected, there are a wide variety of SCA events, described briefly below. You should be aware of these events, at least for planning purposes (such as what you will be expected to bring). Events that will take place in Caid are as follows:
“Wars” are the major Social events within our Kingdom. These larger events take place three or four times a year. Major ‘Wars” in include the “Estrella War” in February in Arizona, a war which pits the armed forces of Caid against Atenveldt, (the Kingdom located mostly in Arizona, the “Treasure Chest War” in June/July (which pits Caid against our neighbors to the north, the Kingdom of the West), the Great Western War held in Caid (in the Bakersfield Area) held in October, and the wars in the barony of Calafia (located in San Diego and Imperial Counties) held during the months of May and September (which brings together Caid, Atenveldt, Outlands, the West and other distant kingdoms). Wars generally last for three or more days, and feature battles and skirmishes with massed troops (instead of individual combat), partying (“Reveling”) and Bardic Circles every night, etc. Merchants generally come to wars en masse, offering an entire spectrum ofwares for your purchase.
“Tourneys” are probably the most common form of SCA event. This is what most newcomers have witnessed prior to joining us. Essentially, a Tourney offers a chance for the Society to portray the “Jousting Tournament” of yore, complete with armored fighters in one-on-one combat. Fighting takes place in the “Eric,” an area bounded by ropes and stanchions (for safety). Around the “Eric,” spectators and merchants erect pavilions in positions where the combat can be seen in comfort. Members come in garb and add to the effect of a “period” encampment. Tourneys start with an Opening Court where Royalty address their subjects, make awards to deserving members, and explain the event (and any special rules or competitions). Tourneys can be held for many reasons: to select a Baronial or Shire Champion; to celebrate the Anniversary of a Barony, Shire or Canton; to select the Queen’s Champion; or just to have an opportunity to get together and enjoy a sunny day. These events are held outdoors in as picturesque a site as can be found, usually some form of community or county park. They end with a Closing Court (at which time the tourney winners are announced), and often a Revel (at a nearby home, hall, or church).
“Feasts” are a chance for our Society members to celebrate together by holding a period dinner. Many of us enjoy researching and preparing period menus, and cooking complete meals or courses. Feasts offer a chance for us to practice our craft, and, in addition, it offers a chance for a candlelit meal in a Medieval style, complete with entertainment and revelry.
Arts & Sciences Competitions
Once a year, our Kingdom holds an open Arts & Sciences Pentathlon, where members may enter their projects in competition. As the name suggests, an entrant may enter their crafts in up to five different categories. This contest serves to promote members’ excellence in the different special arts and sciences of the Medieval period, and it encourages the creation of “Renaissance” men and women; those persons skilled in a wide range of activities. The various arts and sciences include: Costuming, Weapons, Armor, Leather Work, Sewing, Embroidery, Calligraphy, Illumination, Furniture making, Jewelry making, Cooking, Baking, Brewing, etc. The Pentathalon sometimes lasts two days (a weekend) during which time the projects are displayed for open viewing and judging. Judges (who are chosen for their expertise in each of the craft areas) evaluate the entries and award “points” in three broad categories: Novice, Journeyman, and ArtisanMaster. The entrant who gains the most points in his/her category is the winner. For a newcomer, this is an excellent opportunity to see the quality of work done by our craftsmen and craftswomen This will also give you a chance to meet and talk with others who share your interests. Quite often the various Guilds and Special Interest Groups will have exhibits promoting their craft, and seeking recruits.
The Collegium Caidus
Held twice a year, in the spring and the fall, the Kingdom offers a two day “College” during which volunteer instructors from all over the Kingdom meet with students and teach a series of courses. The collegium provides an eclectic spectrum of subjects: There will be courses taught on various aspects of Medieval History, and a wide variety of Medieval arts and sciences, military strategy and tactics (for fighters and would-be military leaders), heraldry (of both “field” and “consulting” variety), SCA accounting (for those interested in our administration), and medicine (for those interested in becoming a Chirurgeon (or Society Medic)).. This is an excellent opportunity for SCA members to get together to learn, and the Collegium has become quite a popular event. The college moves around the Kingdom, with various local areas offering their facilities; look for the announcement of the next college in the “CP.”
Revels & Bardic Circles
“Revels” will be held during and after many events. In short, a Revel is a “party” where our members relax and enjoy themselves with song, dance, and merriment. Some Revels are “pot luck” and participants contribute finger food and drinks to the collective party. “Bardic Circles” are another form of a Revel. The term is derived from our gathering around a roaring bonfire to enjoy the warmth and light, and listen to music, song, stories, and poetry. Everyone is invited to contribute as the entertainment proceeds around the circle. Drinks are shared, bottles are passed around, and everyone has a great time. Quite often, Bardic Circles will be held indoors (without the fire, of course) following a Feast. Both kinds of events are great places to meet others and gain new friends.