So this event, called: “A Soldier’s Resolution, an Early Modern Muster of Arms” was sponsored by a 16th C reenacting group out of the Midwest, who patterned their event off of the “School for the Renaissance Soldier” a long-time event out in California. Stephen actually went out to SRS many years ago and had a great time. This time only Kristina and I out of all the members of Das Geld Fahnlein were able to attend, and it was certainly a time to remember, in a good way.
Why was this event so cool? It was an immersive event: in period in character all the time. And for the whole of Saturday it succeeded, at least for all the folks that interacted with us. We were in old Fort Wayne, a working reproduction so everything inside the fort walls looked pretty good, and was usable! We slept in soldier's bunks in an upstairs room warmed by a fireplace. When packing I stuffed one of our soldier’s pallets with wool roving and quilt batting, then packed three wool blankets (two of them handspun, including this one) and a big wool cloak which ended up staying on my bed. I packed some stuff to make our bunk room period, a chamber pot, painting of Mary, pitcher and bowl for washing. It turned out no one else in the other bunk rooms bothered to hide their modern stuff, but our room looked great. I loved stepping out on our balcony and seeing the Polish guys going at each other with swords, and the women standing huddled in their cloaks in the kitchen door.
There were probably 40 people total, which is way more folks from the sixteenth century than I've ever seen in one place. I've been to bigger events, but they covered much larger periods of time, or they were portraying American History. Folks were portraying nationalities and ethnicities from all over Europe, but that was totally period, the armies arrayed against the Ottoman Turks in the 16th Century were made up of units from Spain, Poland, France, and all over the Holy Roman Empire. In fact, some of the folks there portraying Polish soldiers actually were from Western Europe.
Kris and I were at our Bavarian best, in our characters with our accents and willing to approach every person there. I made an effort to curtsy to everyone I knew was higher than me in station, and flirt with every soldier I might make money off of. We played our roles as Bavarian cooks, and had a lot of in with it.
We did not sped the whole time playing, we spent most of it in the kitchen making food because I was nervous going in and thought we’d be better off with something to occupy our time, so I volunteered to make lunch for everyone on Saturday and Sunday. Feeding a group of 40 with historical food was new, but my experience feeding Das Geld, and cooking at the museum paid off, we made a couple great meals and helped with the fancy Saturday dinner. It meant we had something to do where we had a small group of folks to work with, and we weren't just hanging out getting bored or tempted to slip out of character. I kind of missed that we could not watch the weapons stuff more, but having our tasks in the kitchen for the first year made the event safe and fun.
We even got to take part in a little scenario bit. A few of us women went outside of the fort to take a walk, we were "attacked" and robbed, so we had to scream and yell, run back into the fort and gather the soldiers to defend us. We screamed our heads off, ran around, and got the guys all riled up and ready to defend us. They had a mock battle, a little trial, all was forgiven, then we went back to the kitchen.
|Line of women at muster. Photo by Abby Gale|
I wish we had had more time. We got in late on Friday night and had to leave early on Sunday. It would have been even easier to have that historical feeling if I'd had a few moments to actually sit back and take look around instead of spending most of my time head down in my tasks.
The weekend, for me ended up being a total ego boost. I was surrounded by people I had met once or twice, or had not met before, and they could not have known what to expect, I was told going in that the event was an immersive, in-timeperiod event, and so every single interaction I had was as close to period as I know how to get. Kris and I kept up our accents, talked about how things were in Bavaria, laughed and joked in timeless ways(women can joke about the length of men's spears in any time.) So many participants told us how impressed they were with our ability to interact "in character" all day long. I won't say it is easy, but at this point in my life I'm not sure I could be any other way.
The weekend was totally worth the drive. It was amazing to spend time with folks who do the same century as we do. Since we don't do American history as our main, the moments when we can get together with 40 other people are so very rare. Even at the museum, I go home at the end of the day, so this was a chance to be in the awesome environment over night. I got to spend time with Kris who is an awesome individual, and I got to play in history!