“The Pennsic War” (1996)
I have always dreamed of traveling back in time to live as did the peoples of Medieval Europe. I could dress in elegant draping garb, create necessities and art by hand, and live more in touch with nature and with the world around me. In August of this year I lived this dream by traveling to the mountains of Northern Pennsylvania for a two week long Medieval camping trip called the Pennsic War. The Pennsic War is an event that includes 10,000 people from around the globe, all joining together to reenact the Middle Ages.
A few friends and I drove into the campground at the beginning of the second week of the event. We instantly felt that we had literally entered a new world, a world where things seemed more colorful and inviting. Lords and ladies were gallivanting in brightly colored cloth and ribbon, and the fighters were practicing for future battles in full suits of shining armor. We located our shires camp site, settled in, dressed in period garb and were off to indulge in the pleasures of this new world that awaited us.
We frolicked about the villages and town during the days at Pennsic, and although we choked on the dry dirt from the road and were tormented by the stinging rays of the mountain sun, the daytime was nevertheless relaxing and enjoyable. Passing through the villages, we saw shires and households decorated with castle fronts and kingdom flags, and within the villages families and friends were socializing and small children were playing contently with hand-carved wooden toys. In town there were over 350 merchants who sold all hand-crafted wooden toys. In town there were over 350 merchants who sold all hand-crafted medieval merchandise and taught us classes in arts and sciences. The daytime was for learning, while the nighttime, the best time of the day for me, was for discovery and adventure. During the nights we wandered through the now fire-lit roads in our hooded cloaks that blew erratically in the cold night breeze. The moon and stars glowed loudly, twinkled and felt so close that i found myself reaching out to grab them as if they were fireflies. By a lake, pirates performed plays, and down a hill in the muggy swamp gypsies danced around a fire pit wearing noisy jingle belts and playing hand cymbals. There were parties everywhere, where we were exposed to people acting out their many chosen personas and cultures, through the music, dancing and stories that existed in that period of time.
On our final day in this world we watched the field battle, the war fought by two kingdoms, and for which this two week event was named. We watched in awe as 4,000 Gods in full armor charged across a mile-long field, crashing and screaming, fighting until the last participant was down. In my wildest imagination nothing could have prepared me for these sights and sounds. This was my idea of a “smashing” end to a vacation.
On the final day in this world I watched the field battle, the war fought by 2 kingdoms, and for which this 2 week event was named. I watched in awe as 4,000 fighters, in full armor, charged across a mile long field, crashing, screaming, and fighting until the last participant was down. In my wildest imagination, nothing could have prepared me for these sights and sounds. This was my idea of a “smashing” end to a vacation.