Coming to your very first SCA event? Here are a few helpful hints and tips for you as well as definitions for some of the strange terms you’ll hear. Don’t be intimidated by how long this is… I just wanted to be thorough, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions I didn’t cover here.
The Feast A packing list A glossary of terms
Dressing the part! All SCA events require an attempt at pre-1600’s European (or cultures that had contact with Europe at that time) costume, but don’t panic if you haven’t anything appropriate yet! We don’t expect you to whip up something fit for a monarch on short notice. Our Barony has an extensive Gold Key. The Gold Key is an SCA term for a collection of loaner costumes, and ours contains clothing for every size person known to man, from just about every time period as well. Frequently portions of the Gold Key (It is too large and heavy a collection to carry all of it around!) are brought to events and available at the door for new people to borrow for the day.
Contact our Gold Key officer if you need to borrow some of the Gold Key for a Cleftlands event.
If you’d rather make your own costume, good for you! There are plenty of simple patterns you can use. Remember, all that is required is an attempt at medieval costume; we don’t expect you to be perfect, we know we aren’t! A good way to start is by picking up your favorite history, or even better art history book, and flipping through until you find a picture of a medieval person who’s outfit you like. So long as you are working from a medieval source, you can’t go too wrong and you’ll be participating in the Arts and Sciences!
Generally refered to as “garb”, SCA costumes are intended to be real clothing. If it is comfortable and you can work and play in it, you’ve probably got it right. Wearing layers is a good idea, especially for outdoor events, so that you can stay warm or cool without having to resort to modern clothing.
Note that certain colored belts are used in the society to mark a person as belonging to a particular group. To avoid confusion it is recommended that you do not wear a white or red belt. White belts denote a Knight and red belts are for Squires. Yellow and Green belts are also used in such a manner, but are less strictly enforced.
Just about every event has a Feast. You are welcome to pack your own food or leave the event site for dinner, but I highly recommend eating the Feast. Forget your modern ideas of what a feast is, a medieval feast usually includes enough food to feed you four times over! Some of the dishes will be strange to a modern palate – medieval people had different ideas of what was a delicacy than we do – but most are delicious. Remember, the cooks pick recipes for things that they want to eat! Also most feasts have a good variety of food, plenty of vegetarian dishes. If you have any special dietary restrictions, food allergies for instance, check with the Feastocrat for the event you are going to attend before purchasing feast.
At most SCA feasts you are expected to bring your own Feast gear; plates, bowls, flatware, napkins and candlesticks if they are allowed. Sometimes there is loner gear to be had, but it’s best to bring something to be safe.
More detailed information about the work that goes into preparing a feast can be found on the Cook’s Guild webpage.