Rejoice, citizens! Some good news!
The formally and officially spelled but still nascent County of Ayresgarde is now official and fully recognised, as the County of Ayresgarde finally and officially. The East Kootenay is now locked in the warm embrace of the Kingdom of Avacal.
The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) – a global historical education and medieval re-enactment organization – recently officially established a local chapter in the area. Ayresgarde County held its first official event on Saturday, July 23 at Camp Stone at Lake St. Mary’s.
The SCA focuses on recreating and experiencing medieval culture. Broadly, it is divided into kingdoms. There are about 20 in the world, and East Kootenay is now part of the kingdom of Avacal – the newest kingdom – which encompasses Saskatchewan, Alberta and part of British Columbia.
“The Society for Creative Anachronism is a nonprofit recreation group,” says Amanda Gueguen, known as Medb (pronounced Maeve), the seneschal of “The Formally and Officially Spelled But Still Incipient Shire of Ayresgarde.”
“A lot of the focus is on learning, teaching and classes. If there’s something you’re interested in, there’s someone who specializes in SCA somewhere.
SCA activities can include everything from combat technology to horseback riding, peddling, creating period costumes, cooking and feasting – all aspects of this medieval culture that may seem so distant in time, but for which we can feel nostalgia and interest.
“The only good thing to come out of the pandemic is that the connection to more distant places, with different realms around the world, has grown,” Medb said. “Because a lot of things have become online rather than in person. So I don’t need to travel to Scotland to find the expert on the subject. They teach an online class and I can jump on a zoom call. »
For example, there is a huge community of fiber arts encompassed by the SCA – everything from obtaining fiber from plant or animal, to making it into yarn, then into fabric, into embroidery , in clothes – there are people who specialize in all aspects of this, or the whole process.
Or take, for example, the study of the ancient science of heraldry.
“One of my friend’s favorite lines [His Excellency of Montengarde (Calgary), Baron Bjar the Blue] is “Heraldry Saves Lives,” Medb said. “And that’s very true. Because when you’re on a giant battlefield, you need to know who’s on your side. And that is as true today as it was then. This is also true during larger SCA events when trying to find someone.
There has been an SCA presence in the area before, largely centered on Crawford Bay.
“Crawford Bay was one of the small but mighty branches,” Medb said. “They were the support arm of the band here. Unfortunately, due to membership and that sort of thing, they had to fold. But the group here kept doing things all the while – whether it was having a little medieval dinner party or getting together, dressing up, throwing parties or going to events.
And SCA members are connected as part of a global network.
“The good thing about SCA is that you had the money to go to an event literally every weekend somewhere in the world.”
There are approximately 30 members in the neighboring region who participate in SCA activities. There are many others who participate more on a part-time basis, some who travel very far to do so. County boundaries extend to Golden and south to Cranbrook and Kimberley, then west to Kootenay Lake.
“When we had our very first official event, just before the pandemic, we had just under 100 people showing up,” Medb said.
People are drawn to the Society for Creative Anachronism from all directions of interest.
“One of my favorite sayings is ‘Geekdoms cross paths,'” Medb said. “As well as finding people in the SCA who love this medieval re-enactment, you’re going to find people who also love Star Trek, who also love Star Wars, who also love Doctor Who, Dungeons and Dragons, all those things. You’ll find someone someone else who shares those interests.
“But people are trained in different ways. Some people got into it because it was an easier way to get into archery. Some people came in because they want to hit people with big sticks. Some people went in because they really love the story, and it was a place to share that with others. Some people just like to dress up in fun clothes.
In any case, participating in the medieval recreation of the SCA enriches our daily realities with this other world.
“A lot of people call it the ‘dream,’ because when it works properly and you walk the site, you leave all your problems behind, you become someone else for a few days,” Medb said. “And you make long-term friends and family, long-term bonds.”
The company – that is, the formally and officially spelled but still fledgling County of Ayresgarde – is always on the lookout for interested people. And you don’t have to be a member to participate.
Most of the group’s communication is through their Facebook page, “The Formally and Officially Spelled But STILL Incipient Shire of Ayresgarde”. (Just search Ayresgarde).