What to Expect at an Event

SCA events are great fun, but if you’ve never been to one, they can be a little intimidating. That’s okay! Here’s a general guide to your first event.

Before the Event

Our events are advertised well in advance on our event calendar, on Facebook, and often with a more detailed page in the Upcoming Events section of this website. This will generally tell you what activities are planned, when and where the event is being held, what it costs, who the organiser is (often called the ‘Steward’), and how to book.

How do I book?

  • The event information will tell you how to book – each event is slightly different, but it’s common just to email the necessary information to the organiser. Pre-booking is strongly preferred for our events, and while sometimes it’s possible to show up unexpected and still get in, some events do get booked out in advance. When you book, the event organisers will want to know:
  • Name
  • SCA name (if you have one)
  • SCA membership number (if you have one)
  • Type of booking – e.g. adult, concession, child, member or non-member, whole event, feast only, camping, etc. (Options will be listed in the event description)
  • Dietary requirements (if applicable). Detailed information is appreciated

You should receive an email within a week confirming your booking and sending you the bank details to make online payment in advance. It’s not compulsory to pay online – you can pay cash when you arrive at the event – but it is preferred.

What does it mean to be a member?

An SCA Member (for the purposes of an event) is someone who has paid an annual $35 fee to SCA Ltd  to cover insurance fees. If you haven’t done this, you are officially a ‘non-member’, and will need to pay a $5 insurance fee at each event and meeting you attend.

Can kids come?

Yes! Children and teenagers are welcome at all our events, so long as they are appropriately supervised. Generally, they will pay less for the event, and where possible, they will be charged only the non-member insurance fee (if applicable).

Will the event be accessible for me?

We want it to be. If we know in advance what you need, we’ll do our best to support you in attending and enjoying our events, but the sites we hire may come with their own limitations. Please get in touch with the event organiser early so we have time to make your event experience as good as we can!

What should I bring?

Most of our events are ‘garbed’ (in-costume), so you’ll need something to wear. If you need help, you can get in touch with our Chandler at chandler.polit@gmail.com, and arrange to borrow some of our loaner gear.

If there’s food at the event, you’ll also need something to eat with – we don’t provide personal cutlery or dishware at our events, so at minimum, it’s good to have a bowl, a cup, and a spoon. Plates, forks, and knives are optional, but some people prefer to have them available. To find something that looks more medieval, we recommend you try second-hand stores and look for ‘feast gear’ (as we call it) that’s made of wood, pottery, or metal. It doesn’t matter if it’s not perfect – as long as you don’t bring brightly coloured plastic no one will mind at all.

While indoor events will have plenty of seating, outdoor events like Tournaments often don’t, so you’re welcome to bring a picnic blanket or a stool to sit on. Things that look less modern are always preferred, but it’s still acceptable to bring along a camp chair (for example) if that’s what you’ve got.

You’re also welcome to bring along a craft project to keep your hands busy – many people do.

Will there be food?

It depends on the event, but you’ll definitely know in advance. Feasts are all about food, while Tournaments may be scheduled so that people can get lunch before or after. If the event is running all day, there will often be some kind of lunch provided. Overnight Events may be fully catered, or may have a self-catering option.

Our cooks are generally happy to accommodate dietary requirements, given sufficient notice. If you’ve got allergies, food intolerances, or other reasons to avoid particular foods, let the event organiser know well in advance (when you book is perfect), and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

Occasionally, we have pot-luck events when we’re feeling more casual – but before you start worrying about complicated medieval food, relax! Basics like bread, fruit, nuts, and cheese are all perfectly suitable, and we don’t mind if you make mistakes. Check out SCA Potlucks Without A Kitchen for an easy place to start, or SCA Potluck Recepes for some recipes if you want to try your hand at medieval cooking.

Regardless of whether or not the event is catered, you’re always welcome to bring your own food along. We only ask that you keep modern packaging out of sight as much as possible, and that you’re mindful of the potential for allergies among other attendees.

At the Event

Different events have different activities, but most events have some things in common, too.

What do I do when I arrive?

Somewhere, usually near the entrance, there will be a sign-in desk called the ‘Gate’. You should go here first, to sign insurance forms, pay (if you didn’t do it online), get your name ticked off, and collect any event information being handed out. If you have questions about where to set up or what’s going to happen, this is a great place to ask. Once you’ve signed in, you can get set up somewhere (there may be a designated area, or you can just copy other people) and join in the fun!

Can I help?

Yes! We are a volunteer-run society, and our events only happen because people pitch in. Volunteering is a great way to meet people, find something to do, and learn more about us – all you have to do is look for someone busy and ask if you can help! The kitchen in particular is usually in need of choppers, mixers, and dish-washers, and the organisers can always use a few spare pairs of hand during set-up and pack-down.

How do I behave?

SCA etiquette isn’t all that different from modern politeness. Say please and thank you, ask before sitting down at an occupied table, and if in doubt, copy the people around you. For more information, check out our Etiquette Page.

What’s everyone talking about?

Like any other group that’s been going a long time, we’ve developed our own jargon. You’ll also hear a lot of conversations referring to specialised subjects, whether it’s about armour or embroidery. It’s okay to be confused – we all were once, and we’re happy to explain things to you.

There’s one word, though, that’s very important to know: ‘hold’. If someone shouts ‘HOLD!’, it means that they’ve seen something potentially dangerous. If you hear it, freeze, and repeat it. Once the danger has been identified and fixed, someone will generally call ‘clear!’, and you can continue whatever you were doing. If YOU see something that you think is dangerous, feel free to call ‘hold’ yourself. You might be the only person who can see it, and even if it turns out you were wrong, we’d rather be safe than sorry.

How do I learn more?

Email our newcomers’ officer at polit.hospitaller@gmail.com with your questions