An SCA event is usually an all-day or all-weekend affair (sometimes longer) during which people gather to re-create the pre-17th century world. The object is to strive for as much authenticity as possible, given modern safety and other considerations. Activities vary from event to event but most have at least a tournament during which fighting and/or fencing takes place. There are also arts competitions and displays, where people exhibit their historical handicrafts. There may also be court (where royalty can recognize and honour their subjects and vice versa), games, demonstrations of various skills or activities, dancing and bardic circles (during which the oral tradition of storytelling, music and poetry is continued). Classes are often held on various medieval topics or crafts.
Events are often held in church halls and community centers because they tend to have good kitchen facilities which lend themselves to food preparation on a grand scale (often for 50 or more).
An attempt at pre-17th century costume is required to attend. (Your garb does not have to be perfect when you are first starting out. There are no authenticity requirements. Here are some links to resources to get you started.) You do not need to be a paid member to attend, however members of the SCA receive a discount to their admission fee.
Please note: If you plan on bringing a child for whom you are not the parent/legal guardian please see A Special Note About Attending Events With Children.
In the summertime our events often move out of doors, and weekend (or longer) events occur. Participants will usually camp overnight (in medieval pavilions or modern tents), though some still prefer to just attend for the day. Activities at these events are similar to single-day events, except there is usually much more going on.
As with single-day events, an attempt at pre-1600s costume is required to attend. You do not need to be a paid member to attend, however members of SCA receive a discount to their admission fee.
When Do Events Take Place?
Events take place throughout the year. Day events usually take place on a Saturday, while camping events take place over a weekend (or longer).
Events within the Barony will be listed on the Baronial Calendar. If you are willing to travel further afield, the Kingdom Calendar lists all events for the Kingdom of Ealdormere (almost all of the Province of Ontario).
Frequent* events within the Barony include:
- Practicum: Held in late February. This is a day of classes and learning, followed by a pot-luck feast in the evening.
- Break the Back of Winter: Held in March or April. This is a day of revelry and tournaments. There is usually a feast in the evening.
- Summer Siege: Held in the summer, this camping event is known for it’s archery and thrown weapons tournaments.
- Feast of the Hare: Held in early November, this event is known for it’s armoured and fencing tournaments. There is usually a feast in the evening.
* These events usually take place at the same time every year, but there is no guarantee. Check the Baronial Calendar to be certain.
What Should I Do Before Attending an Event?
It is strongly recommended to read the event website before attending. As well as directions and admission details, it will provide information on what activities will be taking place.
If you plan on attending the feast (assuming there is one), it is recommended to pre-register by email to assure yourself a spot. Seats often sell out in advance of the event. Contact information will be on the website. There may also be the option to pre-register for lunch to ensure you get one.
Some A&S classes also recommend or require pre-registration, due to limited space in the classes or to ensure enough supplies are available. Again, contact information will be on the website.
What Do I Need to Bring?
We are not equipped to handle debit or credit cards, so you will definitely need to bring enough money for your admission, and for any other expenses (such as feast, lunch, any class fees, and other refreshments). Prices for admission, feast, lunch, and any class fees will be listed in advance on the event website to help you prepare.
All events require an attempt at pre-1600s costume, so be sure to bring something to wear, or contact the Chatelaine to arrange to have loaner garb brought for you.
If there is a feast or lunch, be sure to bring your own ‘feast gear’. A plate, bowl, cup and eating utensils are necessary if you’re planning on eating at the event. Even if you are not eating, you will likely want to bring a cup for refreshments. It is perfectly acceptable to use everyday household tableware, especially when you are starting out.
For camping events, you will need all of the usual necessary equipment for camping – a tent, bedding, a chair, cooking supplies, etc. There is no feast at camping events, so you will also need to bring your own food, and the equipment to store, prepare, and cook it. A medieval canvas tent is not required. Modern tents and camping equipment is perfectly acceptable, though people will often bring cloths to cover coolers, camp chairs, or other modern items.
What Do I Wear?
All events require an attempt at pre-1600s costume. Most participants start with a tunic and pants, or a tunic-style dress. They are relatively simple to make, and are very comfortable.
If you need assistance, or aren’t comfortable making something, you can contact the Chatelaine to arrange to borrow an outfit.
What Should I Expect Once I Get There?
If you are unsure about attending your first event, contact the Chatelaine. They can answer any questions you have in advance, and even arrange someone to give you a tour through the event to help get you settled in.
The first stop at any event is gate. At gate you will pay admission, as well as for feast if you are booked. (Lunch is sometimes pay at the gate and sometimes pay at the counter).
If you are not a member, you will also need to sign a waiver to participate (members have signed waivers on file, so they don’t need to sign one at every event). Due to the robust nature of some of our martial activities, we need you to know there is a (very) small risk of getting hurt as an event attendee. Parents of children will need to sign a waiver at event gates for their children. If you are bringing a child for whom you are not the parent/legal guardian please see A Special Note About Attending Events With Children.
The gatekeepers will inform you of any site rules (such as if campfires are allowed, or if there are any areas that are out of bounds, etc.) and can answer any questions you have. There will usually be a schedule of events available as well.
Activities vary from event to event but most have at least a tournament during which fighting and/or fencing takes place. There may also be court (where royalty can recognize and honour their subjects and vice versa), games, arts competitions, demonstrations, dancing and bardic circles (during which the oral tradition of storytelling, music and poetry is continued). Classes are sometimes held on various medieval topics or crafts.
If you see something interesting happening, feel welcome to ask someone nearby what is going on. Most people are very willing to explain what is happening, and can answer any questions you might have.
Some activities have special requirements in order to participate. To compete in armoured or fencing tournaments, a combatant must first be authorized before they can participate. Other activities, such as target archery or thrown weapons, you may be able to participate right away – though it is best to contact the organizer in advance to see if there is loaner equipment available if you don’t have your own. If you do have your own equipment, it must meet SCA requirements and be inspected by a marshal before use (see the links below to find out more). Some A&S classes also require pre-registration due to limited space in the class or to ensure enough supplies are available, however many do not.
- Learn more about armoured combat
- Learn more about fencing combat
- Learn more about archery and thrown weapons
- Learn more about the arts & sciences
A Note About Ranks and Titles
At events you will often see many people with crowns, coronets, and other symbols of rank, and many people worry about what form of address to use. But please don’t be worried. If you’re unsure how to address someone, just ask! Or you can address the person as “m’lord” or “m’lady.” These terms are acceptable for persons of all ranks.
A Special Note About Attending Events With Children
SCA events are open to people of all ages, however if you are bringing a child for whom you are not the parent/legal guardian you will need to bring three items:
- A complete signed minor waiver or the child’s signed blue membership card
- A complete signed minor medical waiver (2 copies)
Parents of children will need to sign a waiver at event gates for their children. If you are unsure of what you will need to have, please contact the Chatelaine for more information prior to the event.