[Elfsea] very interesting article!

Seanan seanan at elfsea.net
Sat Feb 5 10:24:26 PST 2005

> I love it when we get the Good PR.
The Olaf mentioned in the article is on the SCA-Humor list I subscribe
to, here is his story about starting a Day-Trip event that averages
1600 people attending....

    Thanks, I didn't really do all that much.  The people of the Barony are
the ones that did the work getting the event to grow.  My main contribution
was to come up with the idea (there is a long article on Stefan's
Florilegium  under event disasters about the first Birka) & get the event
established to where it was a tradition so it had to go on (I was autocrat
for the first two & planed the third which I had to pass off, due to losing
my job & not expecting to be there, to my friend Tamooj who then lost his
job & went to TX so he passed it to his wife, Dedria who wound up being the
    The first step, after selling the Barony on the idea that the event was
a good idea, was to come up with an event that had a little something for
everyone.  The first year we had merchants, heavy list (the Ox Hide
Tourney), fencing, feast, A&S contest, a quest, period games, children's
activities, day board, thrown weapons & dancing.  Over the years they have
dropped a couple of things, first was the quest, then the games, then thrown
weapons, then the feast & day board.  The A&S competition has changed to a
Norse Crafts demo & they have added a fashion show that gets a lot of the
best garb in the EK up where people can see it.  So the event has lots going
on.  I have heard it described as Pennsic with out the mud, Twelfth night
with out the order meetings.  They are even getting a higher than average
pre reg for Birka because of the really great cast pewter event tokens that
are made by Liam (this year it was a Viking key) which are even nicer than
the standard at the door token also cast by Liam.  All in all the Barony has
made me very proud of what they have done with the event.
    One major part that kept the event growing was that it didn't really
start out as a one household or one Barony event.  I being politically dense
didn't think anything was wrong with asking people from all the different
households in the Barony for help nor in asking other Baronies for help.
This saved the first Birka.  I had asked the Carolingian Cooks Guild if I
could borrow some of their serving equipment & they said yes (maybe out of
shock that I would ask, maybe just because they are some really great
people), then when the feast was in trouble they jumped in & helped save it.
It takes cooperation to put on a large event.  The first Birka I got on the
phone & asked Mistress Thora Shaptooth to judge the A&S contest-she said yes
& came all the way from Pokipssee, NY to Nashua, NH in the winter to judge
an event that she thought sounded like fun.  She was in the Crafts room this
year as well.  This year we also had people from Carolingia, Mountain
Freehold & other area groups working on staff, everyone is welcome to help.
Birka is growing to a point where it can't grow any more with out help from
outside the Barony.
    Something else that helps get an event to have "legs" is a strong theme.
I tried to keep it as Viking oriented as I could the first couple of years &
the Barony has kept that going.  In fact with the addition of the Norse
crafts room it has become even more thematic.
    Another thing that is important is hype.  I went around to every event
in a wide area handing out flyers about the event (double sided densely
written info about the various activities).  I also played up the fact that
I needed to get 200 pre reg'ed people to be able to get the big hall, so
people responded to my enthusiasm by putting down their money.
    You know I find it kind of ironic that the event I started in the East,
because I liked the larger events I saw while in Caid & other western
kingdoms, is now causing discussion about how to have larger events in Caid.
    About population, the groups in New England aren't all that large, but
we are fairly dense on the ground.  Back when I was merchanting I used to
hit multiple events on a long weekend.  I did three different events in one
long weekend.  Each event was separated by at least 100 miles & had at least
200 people at it.
    As far as the reporter goes she is new to the SCA (I think she said it
was her second or third event), her name is Patricia Cassia mka Pat Bradford
aka Jane Raeburn.

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