by The Honorable Fool, Dagonell the Juggler
It was a very blustery day. Winnie the Pooh and Piglet left their homes in the Hundred Acre Wood and… Oops, wrong story. It was a very blustery day. My wife and I left our home at dawn to drive to the State University of NY at Fredonia to start setting up our demo for the first Fredonia Maker Faire.
It was originally planned that we would be outside the new science building so fighters and fencers could fight on the lawn. A couple of the officials decided it was too cold and windy and rainy and just too darn blustery. So they got a couple of volunteers to help us re-pack our stuff and transport it all to the Williams Center and help us re-set up. The volunteers all wore bright yellow t-shirts to identify themselves. Naturally, the exhibitors promptly renamed them Makers’ Minions. With their aid, we were fully set-up before the faire opened.
The faire was originally supposed to be just the Science Building, but they got so many exhibitor responses that they extended the faire into the next building and there were exhibits in both the Science Building and the Williams Center. Nearly 100 exhibits in all. We got the second floor of the Williams Center all to ourselves. The main hall in the Williams Center is two stories tall. The second floor wraps around it like a ring with pillars forming niches all along the balcony side. The organizers put up an extra sign announcing “The Shire” was upstairs.
A&S display at the Maker Faire.
We draped banners off the balconies to hang down into the central hall. We set up an armor display in the first niche along with a chainmail making demo. In the second niche, we set up miscellaneous display objects including embroidery, garb, heraldry and a medieval cookbook. In the third niche, we set up a calligraphy and illumination display with a illumination demo. When the fencers arrived, they took over the fourth niche for their weapons and gear.
Master Otfrid Ammerthaler and m’lady Artemisa da Manarola arrived from the Rhydderich Hael just before the official opening. Lord Coinneich Mac an Leigh and THL Clarissa da Svizzera from Thescorre came shortly afterward. The doors opened and we had a slow but steady stream of fair-goers. We announced the teaching of a few simple country dances, and Artemisia, the Hael’s dance mistress, led the audience through them.
When our fencers, Lord Bjorn Einarsson and Baron Jacob of Dunmoore arrived and armored up, I announced from the balcony that there had been a falling out amongst the king’s musketeers and matters were to be settled by the sword. This was not choreographed, nor rehearsed nor pre-determined. Skill alone would decide the winner. Within two minutes nearly everyone from the hall below was now upstairs packed solidly from wall to wall awaiting the combat. Jacob and Bjorn gave a wonderful display of skill. When they stopped, we had dozens of people by our tables, trying on jackets, helms, coifs, surcoats, gauntlets, swords and bucklers while we talked about the SCA.
At 4PM, the fair closed and we started packing up. We had brought 40 flyers. We had 8 left. We had been interviewed by the Chautauqua Star, who had come to write an article on the fair itself. The issue came out Nov. 4th and is still available. Check your local grocery store for a copy if you live in Western NY. A tired few headed for home with our deepest thanks. The majority of us headed up to Dimitri’s in Dunkirk for Greek cuisine for a meal before going home to plan for next year’s Maker Faire.
All photos and video by m’lady Artemisa da Manarola.