On March 5, A.S. L, the Shire of Stormsport held its 20th Anniversary Bears event. Gentles from all over western Æthelmearc joined the fun and camaraderie of the day.
The Bears event was originally created to honor the “Three Bears” of Stormsport: Viscount Sir Bear the Wallsbane, Earl Sir Bearengaer hinn Ruadi, and Mistress Berengaria of Hainault. Mistress Berengaria no longer participates in the SCA, and Earl Bearengaer sadly passed away in 2007, but Viscount Bear was present and enjoyed the fighting.
The event featured tournaments in fencing, heavy weapons, and youth combat, as well as a silent auction and history display, not to mention lots of excellent food.
Sir Vladisla Nikulich organized a double-elimination rattan tournament which was won by Sir Aengus MacBain in a final round of combat against Prince Byron.
Prince Byron and Sir Aengus in the finals of the double elimination tournament.
As fighters were defeated in the double-elim tournament, they moved on to a bear pit tourney in which fighters were awarded one point for a loss and two points for a win. Duke Marcus Eisenwald won by a fairly wide margin, but Sir Vlad called out the amazing feat of new fighter, Benjamin, who accumulated 76 points despite only winning six bouts.
The only unhappy note of the day occurred before the tournaments began, when Eisen Brehm of Blackwater slipped and fell after a warmup bout, painfully injuring his knee. He was sent by ambulance to the hospital in the company of Baroness Rynea, and fortunately the injury was just a sprain. Duke Marcus noted that all of the fighters were rooting for Eisen’s recovery and hope he returns to the tourney field soon. Eisen later said he plans to be back in armor by Ice Dragon in April.
In between bear pit tourney bouts, fighters had the opportunity to fight at a barrier provided by Sir Aengus.
Fencers also had two tournaments in which to compete, both organized by Duchess Dorinda Courtenay. Master Caleb Reynolds won the round robin tournament, while Lord Alexander du Lac was victorious in the subsequent bear pit.
The victors received chocolate as their prizes, because that’s what Duchess Dorinda said she would want if she was the winner. She also gave the winners “northern long-eared bears” (aka stuffed rabbits, because she was unable to find teddy bears), though 10-year-old Willa wheedled Baron Caleb’s “bear” away from him.
After the bear pit, Master Diego Muñoz took over marshaling duties so that Duchess Dorinda could hold the field against the other fencers.
Youth combatants had the opportunity to fight against adult sparring marshals including Sir Arnþorr inn sterki, THLord Rouland of Willowbrooke, and Prince Byron, and then compete against each other in a triple round robin tournament organized by Mistress Jenna McPherson of Lion’s Tower and won by Ulfr. In addition to winning the tournament, Ulfr was commended for his chivalry, receiving tokens from the marshals and Prince Byron.
Through all these tournaments, the List officers, Baroness Anna Eisenkopf, Baroness Aemelia Soteria, and Lord Cionaodh mac Éamoinn kept things organized and moving.
A silent auction with many desirable items was held throughout the course of the day, netting the shire a goodly sum of money.
There was also a display of photos and other memorabilia of past Bears events, including many pictures of the late Earl Bearengaer hinn Raudi, one of the other “Bears” (along with Sir Bear the Wallsbane) for whom the event was named.
Lady Ottilige von Rappoltsweiler supervised the Kids’ Kitchen, which had numerous children as young as 8 years old assisting in creating the sideboard lunch of spanikopita, fruits, veggies, bread, honey butter, and cold meats. This is the second year that lunch has been prepared by the children at Bears Event and, as last year, the children had a great time and did a fantastic job. The children also helped with the creation of a Bear Subtlety that was displayed during dinner At a brief court held by Prince Byron before the feast, the autocrat, Lady Leah Janette, gave each participating child a wooden spoon in thanks for their kitchen help.
The event was capped off by a feast cooked by Lady Ottilige and her kitchen crew. The theme of the feast was “greatest hits” from past Bears events and featured foods that had been served at past versions of the event, rather than focusing on how medieval they might be. The dishes included baked chicken that had particular meaning to the cook as it was her first exposure to medieval food. Each dish was a wonderful memory of the past, which made it tastier. Of particular note were the “eggs” served with dessert which were cleaned and washed eggshells filled with whipped cream and a marzipan “yolk” that you ate with a tiny spoon. While this was a new addition to the menu, it was reminiscent of medieval illusion food and was a wonderfully creative way to end the meal.
Thank you to Meesteress Odriana vander Brugghe for information about the feast. All photos not otherwise credited are by Mistress Arianna of Wynthrope.