In a message dated 4/4/2004 2:24:33 PM Eastern Standard Time,
>Good Day Gentle Folks! Pennsic is almost upon us (June 1 pre-reg
>deadline) Any advice for those of us going for the FIRST time?
>Packing items not to be forgotten, things (and vendors) not to be
>missed? Taboo things? (I understand there are NO pets allowed.)
<<You may want to inquire depending on the type of pet. I saw hound coursing
there last year.>>
The hound coursing was allowed by special arrangements with the Coopers, the
owners of the site, and the dogs were only allowed on site for the duration of
the hound coursing activity. The ONLY animals allowed on site throughout
Pennsic, besides those belonging to the Coopers, are service animals such as
guide dogs - and you need to have the paperwork proving that they are service
<<Also, check out www.pennsic.net>>
However, be aware that pennsic.net is NOT an official source for information
about things related to Pennsic, although there is a good amount of useful
information there. The population that uses pennsic.net is also highly skewed
towards the people who go to Pennsic to party hearty rather than to try to have
a medieval experience, so bear that in mind as well. It will give you a
somewhat unbalanced view of Pennsic and its activities.
For official information regarding Pennsic, the website is
I strongly suggest regular visits, and for first timers, a good perusal of
the sections related to general site rules and such. Later on there will be
schedules for battles and activities, as well as a nearly complete class schedule
available (although it is well-said that one should never entirely believe
the schedule in the Pennsic book or website, as things are likely to change at
As far as advice, these are my favorite bits:
1. Drink plenty of water. It is very easy to get dehydrated, especially if
you like to drink alcohol as well. Drink water or other hydrating/replenishing
fluids during the day, and save the alcohol for the evening.
2. Get someone to show you around Pennsic in the daylight when you first
arrive. Many of us oldtimers could find our way around blindfolded, but the
layout can be extremely confusing at night, especially down near and below the
lake, if you haven't been there before. There are still sections down there that
I don't know terribly well after 14 years.
3. Be prepared for lots of walking. The Pennsic site is roughly a mile and a
half long and three-quarters of a mile wide, much of it hilly. Most of the
roads are dirt (with rocks), although some of the main ones are paved.
Contrary to popular myth, it is entirely possible to wear nothing but period shoes
for the whole of Pennsic and be comfortable (I've been doing it for 5 years
now), especially if you stick in a new pair of double-thick foam insoles right
before war :-) My husband and I start training walks around our very hilly
neighborhood early in the summer, something I highly recommend if your only walking
is normally to your car and back or around the mall.
4. Be prepared for any weather variation from 110 degrees and 95% humidity
to frost. No, I'm not kidding; it may be August, but the weather in that area
of PA can be very odd. There has been more than one time that I've woken to
find frost on the grass before the sun comes up, and several years ago we had a
week of heat indexes over 110 during the day. There is nearly always one
very violent storm during Pennsic as well, so know how to storm rig your tent and
either pack your stuff in waterproof containers or in boxes on legs, so if
your tent floods, your stuff won't get soaked. Also a good reason to make sure
you have a bed off the ground. Bring plenty of things that you can layer, so
you can stay warm at night and then take layers off as it warms up during the
5. Volunteer for something. There are a number of places to help out at
Pennsic, even for newcomers; everything from Security (which is basically a town
watch program), to providing mobility assistance for attendees with
disabilities, to helping to set up the battlefield for the next day's scenarios.
Everything that happens at Pennsic happens because people volunteer to make it happen
- the only paid staff there are hired by the Coopers to do things like clean
the bathrooms, work in the camp store, etc, and some of the staff who work in
the food booths and merchant booths.
Shire of Silver Rylle, East Kingdom
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