That time I drank my way on to the Stewarding team

This year was my third festival and probably one of the most intense events of my SCA career. It began, innocently enough, arriving early on Sunday to help setup. After getting my gear sorted for the night and helping my camp with their tents, it began to flood with wind, rain and hail. My compatriots ended up leaving for warmer accommodations which left me without anything to do – always a dangerous situation. So, I warmed myself up by helping push bogged cars off site. Many hands, light work and all that.

Drying out from pushing cars, I ended up drinking with the Event Stewards, meeting pretty much all of them for the first time. When more drinks were needed, I offered to get my scotch to some comments of “Dude, my car is closer, don’t worry”. Let it not be said that I’m stubborn.

When I had said I had 4.5L of Scotch, apparently people thought I had that in multiple bottles. The looks on faces as I carried this in and set it on the table were priceless. This was the start of getting to know people who I hadn’t really met before but now feel like I’ve known for at least a year.

Drinking with the team lead to helping them out the next day, following them around and doing odd tasks, from handing out information packs to marking lines, to directing portaloos, answering questions from the populace.. it was a long couple of days during setup, many of which I have partially blanked out. I know I spent 10 hours on a single day directing portaloos, walking the site with the driver and being a visible question person as I was wearing hi-vis and a radio.

On those days I ended up being looked after by the kindness of strangers and friends. So many campsites offered me food, water and alcohol on a regular basis and quite honestly I would have dropped if not for them. Over two nights, I ended up being kidnapped by Mistress Collette to the local RSL, a place I’ve never been aware of, but I was incredibly impressed with the quality of food. I’m incredibly grateful for the kidnappings, beyond the excellent company and conversation I was saved from chewing on boot leather.

As the event started officially I got more involved with the Constable office, taking on my assigned responsibilities and then some. I did a single day of 15+ hours of being the Deputy on Duty, something that exhausted me, but provided me with the chance to meet a lot of people and gain tons of experience.

Given that I was being allowed to perform in challenging roles, I shifted my priorities for Festival and focused on the work. Any who know me will know I generally have a need to be productive and useful – this festival physically broke me but it was the most enjoyable by far.

I did have to cancel my plans for Laurel Prize and the Food Fight, however I am more than capable of stuffing people with doughnuts at almost any opportunity and I only had one person seriously complain about the lack of doughnuts.

Innilgard held the Red Frette social which was the third year having an Innilgard camp night, first year actually advertising to everyone officially. The Crown visited while Collegians sang the Moose song which lead to great amusement. We had large amounts of visitors and a lot of fun. I only know of one person who lost their legs that evening, with special thanks to the amazing Master Paddy for flapping the wings on his hat and heart and helping the person home.

During the event I once again ended up kidnapped by Mistress Collette with instructions to “stand there bleeting” as she dragged me into the Attican campsite claiming I followed her home. I was quickly introduced to everyone and had food offered to me, and I was touched by the instant acceptance and hospitality into a private dinner. I got a chance to meet a goodly number of Atticans at this festival and I wasn’t bitten once (at least by Atticans, but that’s another story).

I had the great pleasure of witnessing two peerage elevations I really wanted to see, the first for Master Gregory who in his usual fashion, smashed the bar out of the park with his vigil and ceremony. Took long enough, but excellent to see.

The other was for Mistress Clara Bonaventure, the Unicorn Doctor Lady, who is quite simply put an awesome person. Always helping, always with an infectious smile and always good company. An impressive oath was given, but that’s only appropriate as it was for an impressive lady.

I was honoured by the Barony of Rowany by admission into the Order of the Silver Cinquefoil – their award for gentles from other Baronies who do service. I proudly wore the pin all festival and will fashion it into a hat in the near future – the appreciation for work, and the (what felt like) hundreds of people who came up to me over the event to offer congratulations made it for me. I thank you all.

Through the course of my work with the Stewarding team and being Diet Vandel I got the chance to meet the wonderful people in the Swamp and spent a good chunk of time relaxing, drinking and chilling with them. They’re awesome people and the environment there helped me unwind on more than one occasion. I don’t know you all that much, but I still have great love.

I was incredibly honoured to be asked to witness the protege ceremony of my friend Declan to Vandel, it was short and private as far as ceremonies in the SCA go, but held a lot of meaning and was incredibly appropriate. Declan I first met at my first festival, and since then I haven’t seen or heard of him stopping working. I can only hope that Declan learns to take the time to chill on the couch from time to time, in between his amazing and precise work.

Among the new friends I got to know better (There are too many to list here, apologies in advance if you’re not named) was a foreign devil from across the sea, the awesome Max in the Red Hat, who besides generally floating around and always being there for everyone, also ended up being Stunt Amos for at least a day to keep me from wearing too many hats. I have a great appreciation for the casual way you threw yourself into work, always with good cheer and happiness. Inspiring stuff.

On the Rapier side, I managed to fight in the Queens Glove, and after her request a few months ago at a training, I acquired the War Pig and War Chicken of Innilgard – pictures to come, imagine squeaky plastic dog toys. I only made it to the Third Round but I managed to fight some impressive individuals and had a hell of a lot of fun attempting to be entertaining.

While I didn’t get to doing any of the testing I threatened would have liked to, I did get to watch some and found myself impressed by not only those being tested, but those doing the testing.

I didn’t see much of my Barony this festival as I was off on adventures and working, but every time I did see them, there were smiles, hugs and inappropriate comments, so I felt at home. A big thank you to the B&B for working tirelessly to provide the camp experience for Innilgard and helping me out with Warden duties.

Finally in closing court, I got to see my friend Mistress Elena awarded a plate in memorial to Mistress Francesca as a token of service, above and beyond the call. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate person to receive such an honour, as she worked all event, not just herding cats Heralds, but also spent countless hours walking the site and troubleshooting.

I was also touched to be included as one of the 12 individuals offered a golden event token (photos once it’s delivered), as a thank you for my service across the site. When standing next to the other 11 I felt humbled as I was among excellent company and to be thought to be included among them was a little scary.

On the final night I had an amusing educational moment on why Lord Gabriel Ziegler instructed me to gradually raise my voice when doing voice heraldry, and not go 0-11 all at once as I made an announcement at Greesispoone and watched a poor Lady have her skeleton jump out of her skin, look around, then quickly stitch it’s way back inside as I went straight to Loud – Capital L. I was glad to be of small service to Greesispoone as they spent all event feeding me, looking after me and otherwise tolerating my bad jokes.

There is more I could waffle on about, but this pretty much sums up my festival.

A big thank you to everyone who helped me in any way, shape or fashion – there are tons of you and you are all awesome. For everyone who fed me, watered me and generally made sure I didn’t fall over – I love you all. Thank you.

Next year I get to do it all officially as a member of the Stewarding team, but I think I’ll see what mischief I can bring for bribery anyway. Sharing a giant bottle of scotch around warmed more than our bodies on cold nights.

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