Our very local-est of events is a winter time marketplace SCA event in Manchester, NH. In 2015 I could not go because of a snowstorm, and I missed it this year (2017) due to stomach bug, but we did get to go last year! It is mostly a chance to see a lot of old friends in the middle of the winter, since the items for sale are varied and either not in our period (16th Century) or not historical enough for us. But the chance to get out of the house, dress up, and hang out with friends in the winter is always appreciated.
Early Modern Muster of Arms
This past year there were only two of us who went out to Fort Wayne, Indiana. I actually left Percy and Stephen at home! There was too much drinking and not enough history for everyone else to come out, but since I stayed in the kitchen most of the weekend, I had plenty of history and very little drinking. I actually had more interesting history experiences on the way out and the way back than actually at the event itself.
My companion this year was incredibly agreeable, so on the way out we stopped in Seneca Falls at the Women’s Rights National Historical Park, which is run by the National Park Service. The building where the first national women’s suffrage convention took place is still standing, but not in the same form as it was in 1840 (its last function was an auto repair garage) but still, you can go inside and sit in the space. The museum next door was quite good, geared towards both those that already had a background in American Women’s Suffrage, and those who are new to the history. As a pilgrimage site, I’m very glad that we went.
On Sunday we left the event early, because one of the most well known Living History museums (at least among academic circles) is in Indiana, and since I was pretty sure this was my last year going out to this event this was my last chance to go see it. Yes, it was several hours out of our way, but when you’re on a road trip… We went to Conner Prairie. What a big site! There was no Greeter or introduction video, we just got our map with our tickets and fumbled our way through for the next few hours.
We went to three distinct areas: the 1830s village, the Civil War village, and the original house. The 1836 Prairietown is the part that I had read about in school, and heard about at conferences. It is a “village” of moved-in houses where everyone is first person, and representing early life on the prairie. I was hoping for meaningful conversations, but we did not get a single person off their well rehearsed script and onto more in-depth topics. Nobody felt real, they all felt like they were acting. I know it can be better than that.
The Civil War village was interesting because it incorporated video and audio, the whole area was telling one unified story of a confederate raid. There was a script, and an order to which you should tour the buildings, and it was mostly well rehearsed. The volunteers at the end of the tour were annoying, but I thought the rest was very well done, as long as you were content with the info they were giving you. The Conner Homestead also felt newly reinterpreted, not just a static display in the historic house, but really informative panels and hands-on activities in every room. I am very glad we stopped, because it was a lovely day and I can say I’ve been there. I had high expectations, really probably too high, but I did have a nice time anyways.
Watch City Steampunk Festival
Chrononaut Merchantile. A few weeks before I was perusing our local kid's used clothing store and found a little tuxedo! I'm sure it was originally worn to a wedding, and probably only worn once. Steampunk is fluid in time, and Percy is cute in just about anything, so he wore a tux.
We arrived just at the beginning of a dreary sort of day, took a turn through the vendors and decided the only thing we had any interest in was the food (which is generally the case at renfaires too.) The music was actually quite good, and the people watching was fun. I reconnected with the NH Wheelmen who used to come to a lot of the Museum events, and we chatted for a long time with a reenactment group that was portraying Zouaves because they also do earlier times: pike and shot like we do, and many of their members have interest in armor just like Stephen. We ran out of time to do any of the local museums, or indoor activities so I guess we'll have to go back again.
NH Renaissance Faire
The spring of 2016 was about Percy and I going on historical adventures, just the two of us. Our first such foray was to the NH Renaissance faire, just two towns over from where we live. I forget why Stephen could not come, He was traveling, or sick or something, so Percy and I set off on our own. No big deal, we have so many friends at the NH Faire that if we had needed assistance we could have asked for it. As it was we did just fine walking around, talking with friends, eating faire food, listening to music. I passed out business cards to musicians who I thought would be good additions to Candlelight Stroll, basically anyone who performed historical music and did not mind being outside in all weather. It was hot so I stripped Percy down to his historical underwear and he charmed everyone by playing with his historical toys. As a small renfaire it was more about dressing up and hanging with friends than anything historical, which puts it on the “maybe” list instead of the “definitely go again” for 2017.
Massachusetts WWII weekend
|My co-worker says this is our Grapes of Wrath look.|
I feel like we were in custume way more than that, but last spring seems long ago now. I’m sure that we had guild workshops, and outings with friends where we did not dress up which only sort-of count. And I guess for the early reenactment season, with toddler in tow, that is really good enough. Summer and fall are coming in the next post!
Read this entry on entry page