Friday, August 12, 2011

Day 12-18: Welcome to Pennsic

August 7-13, 2011 -  Welcome to Pennsic War!  Pennsic War is an annual medieval camping event held the Society for Creative Anachronism in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.  Pennsic War simulates a mock battle between two regional groups of the SCA; the Kingdom of the East and the Middle Kingdom.  The event hosts well over 10,000 people every year, and we got to be a part of it.

Ah, modern medieval combat; all the fun without the dismemberment.

Arriving On Site

All of us in the truck were excited to be arriving at Pennsic.  For those of us who are really into medieval reenactment and the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), this is the place to be.  We managed to pull in a little after dark and quickly signed in.  Afterwards, we managed to get permission to drive the truck and trailer onto the site so we could set up our encampment.  Luckily, Bruce and his wife had already set up arraignments for us to camp with the Kingdom of the West, the kingdom that our chapter of the SCA belongs too.

After setting up camp and moving the vehicle, we decided to go directly to sleep.  We had packed Bruce's big pavilion with us specifically for this purpose, and the large tent had plenty of room for Bruce's family; myself included.  There would be plenty of time to do other things in the morning and all of us were tired.  In the morning, we got a better look at where our encampment was set up.

Humberto got in the photo, but you get the idea.

The Deeper Meaning of Pennsic War

While there is much discussion as to what Pennsic War really is; it can be easily summed up into two words...Shopping and Fighting.  The war, which runs for two weeks, is commonly divided in half.  The first half is Shopping Week while the second half is referred to as War Week.  They are pretty self explanatory; the first week is devoted and classes as well as getting encampments set up.  A lot of people show up for this week and I hear it's quite enjoyable.

The week we showed up for was War Week, which was started off by a very elaborate ceremony in which we got to process in; with banners and pennants waving in the breeze.  While I don't have pictures of us (because we were busy looking awesome) I did manage to sneak pictures of other groups.

We were much more organized.

Not us, and they are going the wrong way.

This YouTube video give you an idea of the procession...but only a small part of it.

War Week featured many battles of all different types and flavors.  While Bruce and his wife fought in the battles, Bruce's daughter and I did some shopping.  While I would have liked to fight, there was other things that I could do that would be beneficial to everybody.  I did what any good buddy would do and watched the young one while the parents were out having fun beating up people with sticks.  Bruce's daughter wanted to go shopping...

...and she can shop.

In between shopping and classes, I did grab my camera to take pictures of the fighting.  So that you have an idea of the size of the battles, there are literally thousands of people on each side and there are several battlefields and scenarios.  These include an open field battle, the woods battle, and the bridge battle; on different days mind you.

Fighters stand ready to do battle.

A lull in the fighting allows people to take a much deserved break.

How shields are transported from one battlefield to the next.

Back to fighting again.

Bridge battles.

A closer look at a bridge battle.

There are lots of things to do after the days and days of fighting.  Most battles happened in the morning and finished in time for lunch...most of them.

Pennsic Fun

After Bruce and his wife got out of armor, there was plenty still left to do.  Most of the time we went around and looked at all the different encampments, did some shopping, hunted smurfs, attended classes, ate, and were merry.

Apparently, the smurf bounty was rather profitable.

Medieval dancing classes.

Another YouTube video showing basically what we saw most of the time.

Humberto racing towards his next class.

Again, I feel it important to note that these videos are not my own, but express what Pennsic War encompasses.  Shopping, learning, and simply being part of a large group that is into the same things I was; for me that is what Pennsic means.

A good example of banners over an encampment at Pennsic War.

While not our encampment, this one is still nice to look at.

Another view of medieval style encampments...kind of.

You probably can't see it too well; Humberto and Batman posing in front of a ship.

Humberto and Batman again.

We were able to catch a couple of plays too, which is something I found enjoyable.  Some of you may know that I was in theatre back in high school and have a keen interest in medieval theatre.  The performances were amazing to witness and something that I will remember for quite some time.  Musical performances were abundant at Pennsic War, and you could easily catch a show almost anywhere

There was a food court that we often enjoyed, sampling different cuisines like ice cream, Chinese food, bread bowls, and turkey legs.  We also got to sample some Texan chili when we were invited to the Kingdom of Ansteora's Chili Cookoff.  A scorched mouth was a small price to pay for the delicacies provided by our friends in the Southwest.

And the parties; so many places to raise a glass (or three) and listen to the drums...but that's not for this blog, sorry.

In all, being able to attend Pennsic War with my friends was amazing.  We all had a lot of fun and adventure.  However, as I was to learn throughout the rest of my journey around the United States, all things must eventually come to an end.

Before we left, I managed to get one more photograph of Pennsic.

This picture really sums up this part of the blog.

On our last day of Pennsic War, we struck camp and spent the night in the camper.  In the morning, we took Bruce's family back to the airport; a sad day for both of us but more so for Bruce.  He wouldn't get to see his family for quite a while.  I felt really sad for him and tried to cheer him up with jokes and talking about a myriad of different things when we left the airport.  I don't really think it worked as well as I wanted it to, but what is a buddy to do?  I had to try.

We headed out towards our next destination and more adventure that night.  The only problem that we ran into was   We drove the rest of the night over the Pennsylvanian hills to the little town of Gettysburg.  We drove in the dark, up and down the rolling hills that made up much of the landscape that we could see.  Finding a campground for the night, we rested in the comfort of the camper...with air conditioning.


Post a Comment

Top Menu