This is just a quick update to keep you informed of our progress tp Pennsic 49.
Over the last month the Pennsic 49 senior executive has met with the Crowns and Seneschals of the East, Midrealm, and Æthelmearc. We have discussed specific issue regarding the planning and running of Pennsic 49 and are discussing options and figuring out ways to run it safely, albeit maybe a little differently. Those plans are still under consideration, discussion, and planning, but we are still moving forward to our well-published final decision date of May 30.
I am aware that the Known World Seneschals have met with the SCA Inc. Executive Board over a range of issues prior to the full SCA Inc. Board meeting, I think some time in April. I am not aware, nor do I need to know the specifics of that meeting, however we were asked and did supply representation at the meeting to field any Pennsic War-specific questions.
We are continuing to plan for Pennsic 49 in 2021 until either 30 May 2021 or our hand is forced to make a decision sooner.
The good news is the the COVID-19 overlay is getting better in the USA, UK, and parts of Europe week by week. I pray it keeps going that way with the vaccines roll out.
I know this is not the news many need right now, but I’m letting you all know so that you can plan accordingly and be as aware as we are. Sorry I can’t say more.
As promised, I am sending this message out to keep you all informed as to how we are progressing to Pennsic 49. The reason for the update is so that you are able to walk the decision making path with me in a clear and transparent manner and know the rationale behind any decisions we, the Pennsic Management Team are making.
First of all I want you to all know that we are still planning for Pennsic 49 in 2021. I want to make it very clear that we are “planning,” not holding Pennsic 49 next week, as we are still months away from either the Pennsic 49 decision date at the end of May or the Pennsic War event itself.
Let me explain for those that have never seen behind the running of a major event like Pennsic… it does take a lot of planning and organisation. We can’t just start organising it at the end of June and get it all in place. The Pennsic War Management Staff and myself as Mayor of Pennsic start the process two years out from the Pennsic War we are running. I won’t go through all the boring administrative details, but it is a long and well managed process.
However, you need to be assured that I will adopt the same fact-based and health-informed approach to the planning for Pennsic 49 this year, as I did last year. I fully understand the concerns you all have about any large event at this time, but I still need to continue the planning required well ahead of the event itself.
The same timeline will be adopted again for this year as it was for last year and we have a decision date which at this stage is at the end of May 2021, give or take a week. We still have just under 6 months till Pennsic 49, and I am prepared to support the PSG and deliver the hard call if need be, the same as I did last year. Note the SCA Inc have currently suspended all SCA events until May 30, 2021. Those types of decisions are out of my control.
I also want you to understand that we are much further ahead this year regarding our knowledge of COVID-19 than we were at the same time last year. And yes, we are fully aware that mutant strains are evolving and that vaccines are being rolled out. However, these things need to be observed and evaluated over the next few months and consideration given as to what effect they are having on the COVID 19 health overlay, nation and worldwide. This in itself will form a large part of our decision-making package and like last year will always be based on current, up to date, CDC plus local State and County Health information.
I will not endanger people or risk Pennsic 49 becoming a “Super-spreader Event” just for the sake of having an SCA event. I am fully aware that people have concerns. At this stage I again reiterate that we are “planning” for Pennsic 49, not running Pennsic 49 right now. You all trusted me last year and those of you that know me, should know that I have no “ego” about being Mayor of Pennsic 49. I view myself as the custodian of the Pennsic War event, which encompasses the safety of attendees, organizers, staff and public community that surrounds the Pennsic War. I will not risk any these for the sake of swinging a stick, camping with friends and having a few pints around a campfire.
I hope this update helps you all understand the process we are going through. I will keep you updated with future posts when new information is available.
Second, there is a very important announcement regarding Seniority from Land One.
It has come to our attention that some land agents and/or groups are concerned about the potential loss of a year of seniority for their group if they do not attend Pennsic War 49. We would not want a person or group to feel obligated to attend PW49 if due to COVID-19 health or travel restrictions, they are not able to attend. This is especially true as we cannot predict what restrictions may be in place when PW49 is in progress.
As such, we will not be awarding a year of seniority for any of the groups who ultimately attend PW49. This assures that no group will receive any type of seniority advantage for having had the opportunity and desire to attend Pennsic where the COVID 19 restrictions would not prevent them from doing so.
The past month has seen significant change in the COVID-19 threat and risk overlay for Pennsic 49. The cancellation of major events throughout the modern world such as, The Olympic Games (July 2020) in Japan, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo (July/Aug 2020) in Scotland and major events across the USA, plus the restriction of travel both nationally and internationally, have indicated to me that this world-wide pandemic is having an ongoing longer effect on the planning and running of Pennsic 49 in July/August 2020 than could have been foreseen.
In addition, last week has seen the cancellation of Æthelmearc War Practice and the closure of all schools in Pennsylvania for the rest of the school year.
Cognizant of these changes I have asked Viscount Edward to liaise with the Coopers Lake management and identify a final notification date for the continuance of Pennsic 49 in 2020.
This is not to be viewed as a cancellation of the event; it simply allows me to have a “timeline” for decision making and allows me to further consider the impact of events on my recommendations to the Pennsic Seneschals Group (PSG).
It is therefore incumbent upon me to plan for as many possible outcomes as I can foresee. To that end, I have requested that the PSG have a virtual meeting, on a mutually suitable date between 20 to 25 April 2020. At that meeting, discussions will be held regarding several impacting factors for Pennsic 49 in 2020.
My primary concern will be to ensure the safety of the Pennsic War attendees, the Coopers Lake community and staff, as well as the impact on businesses in and around Coopers Lake Campground area.
We need to also consider the recovery period for businesses in the local area that would normally supply Pennsic with part of our infrastructure for the event to run safely and effectively. This includes but is not limited to everything from the contracted EMS Service to tents and golf carts.
I have been in discussions with James Brezel from the Coopers Lake management group over the past weeks to ascertain their position as no matter which way we go, it will have a great financial impact on their business. I cannot comment on things that Coopers Lake Campground supplies from Porta-Johns to Coopers casual staff and the Pennsic Store, I will leave that to James and the Coopers Lake management to evaluate as they know that side well and what effects COVID-19 has had on the supply chain to them.
All the above needs to be considered and discussed before any final decision/s are made. That decision does not include the overarching authority by local, county, state or federal agencies that would override any decision made by either ourselves or Coopers Lake management and which is beyond our control.
I am looking at a lot and taking into account all options and considerations not only for the people who attend Pennsic every year, but also for the Coopers management and staff. In addition, we need to consider the impact and opinions of the local people and businesses, in and around Pennsic. I especially need to look at if the local businesses can still supply or are in a position to supply the attendees to Pennsic 49.
On top of this we need to consider the impact on the local community of 8,000 to 10,000 people turning up from all over the USA and internationally and what the health effect that may have both physically and reputation-wise to the SCA, Pennsic, and the Coopers Lake Campground.
Add to that the constant changing figures in the USA, shutdown of state borders, local, county, state, and federal changes in the movement of people, and last but not least the projected recovery time, even if this bottoms out by the end of June. This is a juggling game where we cannot afford to drop a ball. So, I am being measured, careful, factual, and logical in our approach.
Be assured, we are all working towards the best possible solution. It is my desire to have a final decision advertised no later than 15 May 2020. This will allow people to change plans if necessary and/or prepare for a Pennsic that might be very different to that we have attended before.
As you are all no doubt aware by now… I like to Plan for the Known and Prepare for the Unknown. I have a fantastic staff and great support from the PSG and Coopers Lake management.
I will keep you all advised on the outcome of our discussions and planning.
Greetings from the Pennsic 49 Family Activities Coordinator!
Photo by Baroness Clarice Roan
I know that it feels like Pennsic just happened, but next years’ staff is already hard at work preparing for Pennsic 49. Family Activities cannot run without the help of many hands, and we are looking for volunteers for several of our coordinator positions, as well as folks who think they might like to shadow those jobs to possibly do it in a few years. We’d love to prevent burnout by having many folks trained on jobs. Please fill out the linked form or email me at email@example.com if you are interested in any or more than one of these jobs. For jobs requiring an SCA background check, there is plenty of time to get one, and I’ll be happy to walk you through the process.
Mistress Leonete D’Angely, Family Point Coordinator
As our summer events season launches into full swing, I’m sure most of us are thinking of Pennsic. I have an easy, fantastic volunteer opportunity for those interested in helping newcomers to Pennsic and/or the SCA navigate their way around that amazing place.
Æthelmearc will be sponsoring a day at Newcomer’s Point this year. Our day is Monday August 5th. I am hoping to get enough Æthelmearc volunteers to cover the entire day (10:00 am- 6:00 pm). Shifts are 1 hour long. You do not need to be a chatelaine to pick up a shift at Newcomer’s Point. Anyone who is knowledgeable about Pennsic and/or the SCA, or who can think on their toes, will have a lot of fun volunteering there.
Shifts are super easy and all the information you need to answer questions is kept at Newcomer’s Point. Maps, class schedules, battle schedules, directions to Royal Encampments, etc… are all there, and much more.
If this sounds like something you would be interested in doing, please click on the link below, select August 5th (or any day that fits into your schedule) and follow the directions.
As Pennsic rapidly approaches and the national holiday is over, this brings to mind those who for any number of reasons do not enjoy the battlefield cannons at the War.
Various gentle need some help to traverse the sound-rich environment that is Pennsic. One of the tools to help those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), service animals and their handlers, or those with Sound Triggered Anxiety (STA) is now entering its second year at the event: the Cannon Advanced Warning System (CAWS).
The CAWS is always looking for volunteers to help in various ways: from data entry to sitting on the top of the hill over the battlefield and working with the cannoneers to send out the warnings.
Sign-up is at the merchant locations Silvertree Souq and Nordic Trader. Please consider volunteering to help make Pennsic a safer, more fun event for everyone.
To read about the origin of the system, click here.
To read last year’s explanation of what volunteering entails, click here.