The last few days of Pennsic are exhausting for me, but they’re also some of my favorite days of the year.
Pennsic generally runs from the last weekend of July to the second weekend of August. The two weeks are named Peace Week and War Week, and they are both wonderful but for completely different reasons.
I often say that Peace Week is the only vacation in the SCA. For those who have never come to an SCA event, you may not realize just how busy and full these events are. You get up in time to do whatever your daily activity might be, which includes classes, projects, fighting, fencing, archery, and equestrian events. Then you shower, get some food, and get ready for whatever the afternoon brings, and this can be laid back (I often take naps), but often involves camaraderie and story-telling. In the evening, the king and queen have a court where they give people stuff, and there’s often a hand-made feast. Then you get to the serious socializing.
That’s a long day, and that’s merely the schedule of a day-long event. Pennsic and other longer events stack similar days, though the royalty only has court on some days, not all. There are other ceremonies though, and every night one group or another hosts a party or a bardic circle or some sort of gathering.
In Peace Week, all of the things that make the SCA fun are available, but it’s far more relaxed. You *can* do anything. You also can choose to not do anything. The Pennsic after I went to Macedonia and England in 2006 I was exhausted, and one night I went to bed at 2:30pm. Not a nap. “I’m going to bed, see you guys in the morning.”
Of course, there was the time that I ran into a close friend I only see at Pennsic at around 5:30am on the way to the port-a-johns and after we did our business, we went back to my shade fly and opened a beer. Then we had another. Then someone else came by and had a beer. By around 9am we’d started doing projects… and drinking. I don’t know that anyone actually got drunk, but I finally went to sleep at 4am. A good day, and the kind of thing that happens in Peace Week.
War Week, on the other hand, is full of all the things and you want to do everything. Sleep is for the weak… next week.
For me, the real busy time begins on Wednesday, with Midnight Madness. That’s an exhausting, but fun and profitable evening.
Thursday is even busier. This is the day that Calontir’s king and queen hold Their court. Following court, we host our yearly party. Over the last dozen years or so I’ve been one of the ones primarily tasked with arranging the bar. I got lots of help, but it’s still a goodly amount of work.
Also, I volunteered to be the herald for court, which means I called in people for Their Majesties and read the scrolls. This is one of my favorite jobs in the SCA, and is a fun honor, but another task on what is clearly a busy day.
Today, we recover from the party, but at the same time we start packing up. My plan is to be on the road at some point on Saturday. What I have to get done between now and then is take the kegs back to the distributor, get my books and booth packed up, and then tomorrow tear my tent down.
Fortunately, I have no specific time or place to get to on Saturday, so I will just do the work and not hurry. Earlier is better, of course, but even just staying at a hotel down the street makes the drive doable.
The end is nigh, and getting nigher by the moment. Thank goodness.