Sunday, December 9, 2018

A Mid-Winter's Celebration

Although we live in the Canton of the Towers, which is part of the Barony of Carolingia (Boston area), we're on the far north-eastern edge of the canton. This means that events in Maine and New Hampshire are sometimes closer to us than our own Barony. Back in October we visited Malagentia in ME to attend Autumn's Inspirations, and had a great time and were warmly received. Yesterday, we attended an event in Stonemarche (New Hampshire), called A Mid-Winter Celebration. As it was our first time attending, we weren't sure what to expect, but it was only 40 minutes away from us, so we decided to attend and find out.

And, I'm glad we did! The event was attended by about 90 people, which was apparently larger than expected. The day was very sunny but very cold, but the main hall stayed comfortably warm. We were immediately greeted at gate and given a warm welcome. The event was of the "gather and visit for the day" type with a midday feast, a small area for heavy fighting, an Arts and Sciences display table, and a well-orchestrated series of activities for the kids attending. Feast was yummy, and at the short baronial court after feast, all of the children were given presents - from what I could see, a number received Nine-Man's Morris boards, and others received some fun stuffed dragon toys. The younger children who were sitting near us seemed perfectly delighted with their haul.

We were happy to be joined at our table by milady Kathryn and her husband Brian from Stonemarche. We met Kathryn last month on our scribal field trip to the libraries at Harvard to view some of the medieval manuscripts there. It was fun sitting with them and getting to know them better. Kathryn showed me some of embroidery in progress, which was quite lovely. She later entered it in the A&S display, where it seemed to be well received in the populace vote. Lady Rachel of Rochester and her family were seated next to us, and I had fun chatting with them as well.

While at the event, I was particularly pleased to meet Lady Astriðr Sægeirsdottir (the event steward) and Lady Amalie von Hohensee (running the A&S display), who are also both needleworkers. I hadn't really intended to enter anything into the A&S display at this event as I was still working on my goldwork and hadn't any formal documentation for it. But, Lady Astriðr positively squeed with pleasure at seeing that someone else was interested in Or nue, and eventually brow beat me into submitting my work. I had a nice discussion with the A&S judging panel about my work, and they gave me some positive feedback on it. I was also able to discuss it briefly with another artisan gentleman at the event who also does goldwork (his name, unfortunately, escapes me). He was busy working the feast so we didn't get to chat long, but I look forward to seeing him again. Definitely by far the best entry at the A&S display was a very extensive project someone (again, I wasn't able to determine who) was doing to illuminate, callig, and bind several books. He had his work on display, along with much of his supplies and equipment, so it was a great exhibit of the entire process. He seemed to be winning in the popular vote when we had to leave, and it was well deserved.

The event was a lot of fun, and we were very glad that we attended. We made a number of new friends, and it's good knowing they're just north of the border from us. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again at Birka next month!

I broke out my boyar coat and hat for the event, since it was so cold that day. The hat was popular and got petted. I had to stop quick at the grocery store on the way to the event, and the coat elicited a question from a confused local as to whether I was wearing my bathrobe. Sigh. The jacket turned out to be quite warm. I may need to make some gloves/mittens before Birka, however. It was really cold walking to/from the car that day.

Folks sitting around and visiting.

They eventually had to commandeer more tables to accommodate all the attendees for feast. The event was more popular than the event staff had expected. 

Our new feastgear, including the mug I won at Autumn's Inspirations.

A small area was set off for heavy combat.

Action shot!

The children were gathered in court and given presents. 

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