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2874Middle Kingdom 40 year celebration--40 years and still going strong.

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  • Fern
    Jul 19, 2008
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      Dear Aryeton and friends,

      I understand that the Middle Kingdom would like some group to host a Midrealm 40 year anniversary for next year in 2009. But there are no confirmed volunteers at the moment. This starts me thinking about the history of the Midrealm.

      Here's what I know about the origin of the Middle Kingdom:

      The Middle Kingdom came into being some 40 years ago. During the late 1960's, David Freedman (Cariadoc of the Bow) and a bunch of his science fiction friends in Chicago heard about a California group that did medieval costume parties and held tournaments. David attended a science fiction convention in California, met some of the SCA people, and returned with the ideas and imagination to start a kingdom here. The local people held a tournament sometime in 1969, which Cariadoc won, so he got to be king, and everybody else thought up some other jobs/ roles for themselves.

      There was a lot of imagination, and not too much forethought, at this time, and for a long time afterward. When I joined the SCA (1973), we were not yet convinced that SCA was a long-term activity. It seemed like it was a pleasant college diversion, a nice excuse to dress up, sing songs, and flirt with the opposite sex. Flirting was a very popular part of the events! When the kingdom's history was short enough that I could list the Royalty by counting them on my fingers, the Kingdom didn't seem very permanent.

      Apparently, I was underestimating the importance of our hobby. After all these years, I am tremendously impressed that the Middle Kingdom has become such a fixture in my life. The activities are still challenging, the ceremonies are still inspiring, and the people are still phenomenal. My life has been hugely enriched by belonging to the Middle Kingdom.

      So, I think it's pretty special that the Middle Kingdom is still here to celebrate 40 years. I consider myself a representative of the first decade of the Middle Kingdom (1969-1979), and I have a very special place in my heart for all the other Midrealmers from that same decade.

      Next year in 2009 is the time for a 40 year celebration.

      It would be so cool to have the Incipient Barony of Aryeton be the host of a Midrealm 40 year celebration! This is where the Midrealm was founded, and many of those old people are still around. The first two sets of Royalty, Cariadoc and Diana, Franz and Abrizhade, were from Chicago. Chicago was the center of the Middle Kingdom for a long time, until the kingdoms of Calontir and Northshield were generated.

      Hosting a 40 year celebration would be like running an ordinary event, with a couple of theme activities. We could have a tournament, and a feast, and some arts contests, and whatever else we wanted. I attended the 30 year celebration in 1999--it was held in Indiana and it was very pleasant. It's always nice to see old friends.

      But we could do much better, if we start with this much lead time! We could have big banners for all the baronies, and classes on ancient Midrealm history, and strange and wonderful characters from the Midrealm past, and we could all meet famous people and hear their wonderful stories! We could have a countdown to identify the most senior people, like they do at Pennsic. We could invite the Calontiri and the Northshielders! We could sing songs of the Midrealm, and bardic tales of the Children of the Dragon!

      Do I sound enthusiastic to you? I'm really enjoying the possibilities for this theme.. Of course, at the moment, this is all just ideas. The Midrealm XXXX celebration would doubtless be a Kingdom-level event, so we have to get approval from the Kingdom Seneschal/ Curia. We don't have an event until we have an autocrat, a site, a date, and a listing in the Pale calender.

      Now, I am plenty willing to be the listed autocrat, or part of an autocrat team. The question is whether Aryeton people want to add a Kingdom event to our current calender for 2009. We already have our own local events, and there are many of them. Plus, the Rose Tourney is going to be sponsored by Vanished Wood next summer.

      If we are really interested, as a barony, we have lots of options. The 40-year celebration can be combined with one of our current events, if the current autocrat is agreeable; it can be treated as a once-in-a-lifetime special event, with an event staff drawn from the entire barony; it can be an additional event on our local calender. If we plan for fall of 2009, for example, we have loads of time to prepare for it. We don't have to do all the work ourselves, either. For a big event like this, probably we will get offers of help and ideas from all over the kingdom!

      There is no need to make decisions right now. With Pennsic coming up so soon, all of us are already very busy. This letter is just to start us thinking about it. Some time after Pennsic, we can have more discussion and brainstorming, under more relaxed circumstances.

      In order to do this as an Aryeton event, naturally it will have to be discussed and agreed at the Aryeton meeting. But we can talk about it anywhere!

      This list is a good place to talk about ideas--how many ways can we think of celebrate a 40th anniversary? Lots, and lots, I bet.

      Thank you for listening to my rambles!

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