By Maggie Rue
The Weedwalks are a long-standing tradition at the Pennsic War: every morning at 10 a.m. class-goers can meet up with a teacher and walk around Pennsic getting a lesson in the local vegetation.
Because the teacher changes with each day, a student can find different plants, a different location, or different information depending on the teacher.
The Pennsic Weedwalks as they are today are operated by Master Emrys Eustace, known as “Broom” (Joe Marfice) and Mistress Sadira bint Wassouf (Patricia Chakalis). Sadira is the queen of all things botanical, and although not the first to lead weedwalks at Pennsic, her incarnation is the longest surviving.
“I originally learned from a man called Whitefeather, who may have been the first to do official weedwalks at Pennsic. My first Pennsic was #11 (1982) and as I recall there were two classes: Water-bearing/Chirurgeon training or battles and the weedwalk. (Not sure if there were others or if these were the only two I wanted to attend). I began leading walks after a person from another state led a walk, making several serious misidentifications.”
“I was ever so grateful when Master Broom started organizing the consortium, because I had done weedwalks for quite a few years before that and was feeling the strain of huge groups of people who wanted more.”
Master Broom agrees. “I only took over from her when she was getting tired of doing many daily walks, and then mundane matters took her away from Pennsic.” Later, Master Broom organized the weedwalks into a consortium with multiple teachers. He insists, “I am merely the organizer; (the teachers) all are the reason the Weed Walks exist.”
Sadira loved it: “I came back in 2014 to this lovely consortium and all their creativity. What a gift!”
Other teachers have included Raziya bint Rusa (Elizabeth Burdick), Juliane Bechaumpe (Ann Fairhurst), Rue (Jen Sadler), and Layla Al-Zarqa (Kelley Morgan).