In any case, the preparation for this event began months ago. My husband had volunteered to run the Arts and Sciences portion of the event, including two competitions (Champion of Champions, for people to enter items that had already won a previous competition and overall A&S Champion, for three entries in at least two grand categories), all the classes, scheduling, and a laurels' salon and A&S display. The event had a lot of hiccups along the road, so he was working hard to keep his part running smoothly.
The event was a long one, with site opening on June 29 for pre-registrants and closing on the morning of July 4. Between all the extra A&S items for both of us to enter the competitions and teach classes, for my husband to run the various events, and for us to bring a full kitchen setup since we didn't have one to buy into at the event, our car was packed to the ceiling. In the SCA they say that if you can see out the rearview mirror you still have plenty of space in your rig, but we truly were full up!
The site, Fort Buenaventura in Ogden, UT, was about a five hour drive for us. With highs predicted in the upper 90s throughout the event there was a burn ban in place, and even more challengingly, there really were only two showers available on site and attendees were not allowed to bring camp showers or swim in the nearby Weber river. We made do with washcloth/baby wipe baths, but I felt really bad for the fighters who got truly sweaty and hot. It wasn't a cake walk at 24 weeks pregnant, of course, but I managed to stay relatively comfortable with lots of hydration, naps, wet veils, and as little garb as I could get away with. We also added a shade fly to our tent setup to give us some extra relief.
We arrived in mid-afternoon on the 30th of June and set up camp. I wasn't able to help nearly as much as I would have liked to thanks to the heat and trying not to haul anything too heavy. Luckily we had some friends pitch in to help us get the tent up and then I was able to help by arranging gear, parking the car, etc. By dinner time I was pretty wiped out, as was Aonghus, but once the sun went down we got into garb to attend baronial court, watch the tassehauen tourney our barony sponsored, and then to go visit with friends and explore the site.
Saturday, July 1, was my husband's busy day with the A&S competitions, the laurels' salon, and a full slate of classes. We walked over early (it's a big site, there was a lot of walking) to set up our entries and fill out our forms, and we were already sweating by 10 am when the competition opened. My entries were my spinning demonstration and woven belt from the baronial championship in May (see below for info), plus my sauerkraut (documentation below), which was entered on its own and as part of a medieval sandwich that was a group entry (charcuterie, mozzarella, homemade mustard, homemade bread, and sauerkraut). I spent the morning shooting archery (very poorly, might I add) and was completely worn out and overheated by lunchtime. After some food and a rest I headed back to the A&S area to teach a class on spinning with period tools, and was pleased to have three attendants. One was already a spinner and took to the technique very quickly once I'd reviewed it. The other two were novice spinners, but hopefully I planted the seeds of interest while we sat and talked. An hour long class just scratches the surface, really, and I have to remind myself that I've been spinning for more than ten years, probably closer to 12, so what seems natural to me is far from it to most people. Then I hurried back over to the A&S display area to do my spinning demonstration for the competition and catch part of the display and salon. It was nice to chat about my entries and share ideas with the other artisans. By the time we were finished it was close to 4 pm and we gratefully trudged back to camp for dinner. My husband did so much work and hauling and helping and answering that I think he was more tired than I was! I'm really proud of him, and though he wasn't mentioned in any official way, I know his efforts were seen and appreciated. After a fun opening court that evening, there was a great torchlight greatsword tourney and hafla/kingdom party attended by the site's many bats and dragonflies trying to keep the mosquito population at bay. We also stopped by our friend Baroness Tee's pre-laureling vigil, though I couldn't stand and stay awake long enough to give her my good wishes in person.
Sunday was an easier day. I enjoyed looking at the display of items from Artemisia's history and the shield wall of kingdom members who have passed away. I taught my sauerkraut-making class at noon, and was delighted to have five students who made sure I didn't have any extra cabbage or jars to haul back to Boise. Everyone had a great time. Make-and-take classes are my favorites to attend, and I was glad it was popular. My husband and I even managed to take a class together, an in-persona presentation by Baroness Amanda de Spenser disputing the so-called Copernican heresy. She did an excellent job of refuting the notion that the earth revolved around the sun. Our friend and fellow Cavalry member Lord Innocent arrived part way through the day, and we had a nice time chatting in the shade with snacks and cards before dinner. We ended up not going to the grand ball (after all that practice and research!), but Tee's laureling that evening followed by the St. Jude Mustache and Martini party was a hoot, and I'm not just saying that because the King and Queen had a roving court and named me the winner of the Arts & Sciences competition! I truly didn't expect to win, as the two others in the competition were extremely talented, and I felt like I could take my art farther, but who am I to argue with the judges and the crown? Check out my awesome rune stave scroll by Dame Varia.
Tuesday we had to pack up and get off site, which is always unpleasant, but extra annoying when it's hot, especially since I was limited in how much I could lift or how long I could work without a break. I did the first few hours of the drive home while my husband slept off the long hot morning, then he took a turn while I rested. We were so glad to get home to showers, washing machines, air conditioning, and all the modern conveniences, and now, a week later, I'm finally recovered. It was a great event, and fun to help the kingdom mark such a special anniversary.