In one sentence, the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), is a world-wide non-profit historical recreation organization. But one sentence is not enough in order to encapsulate the diversity of experiences of all of the people who participate within the SCA.
For over 50 years, the SCA has continued to evolve and change. Those who participate in the SCA find the thrill of battle, the joy of creativity, and the comfort of friendships established as together they explore an ever-evolving understanding of the history of diverse cultures across the globe.
The Society for Creative Anachronism recreates pretty much every aspect of life before the 1600’s CE. Although the majority of participants explore western European history between 600 and 1600 CE, others choose different cultures or earlier time periods.
What happens at SCA Events and Meetings?
Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) meetings happen around the region and on different schedules for different local groups.
SCA members and guests gather together and practice or work on projects. There are often a variety of project nights and classes, fighter practices, archery practices, and sometimes equestrian or bardic activities available.
Check with your local group to find out about the local meetings in your area.
Every year in the four-state area of the Kingdom of Calontir, there are on average 45 events being held. This doesn’t even include the variety of events being held in the neighboring Kingdoms to the north or east of Iowa.
Many of these events have different combinations of activities and themes that form a constant list of adventures to explore.
SCA members as well as guests can attend these events. The only stipulations to attend are paying the Site Registrations to get in and “an attempt” at clothing from before 1600 CE.
Once inside, the activities of the event depend on the event you attend. Activities commonly found at events include:
- Classes – Many events have a variety of classes on many topics included in the Site Registration.
- Shopping – Merchants are often at events selling either raw materials for people to craft things themselves, or finished items for people to buy.
- Marshal Activities – Including rattan combat, steel combat, archery, thrown weapons, youth combat and equestrian activities.
- Socializing – Events are places where people from across the region gather to share and explore their passion for history and creativity.
How can I participate in the SCA?
There are several ways people begin participating in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), and there is no one single correct path.
You can find your local group and attend a local meeting – local meetings are free to attend and there are not requirements for historical clothing. Drop in and check out what people are up to. Our local meetings are where the local members gather together to practice, learn and plan for events they may attend or host.
You can show up to an event – new people and non-members are always welcome to attend any SCA event. Unlike local meetings, you will need some attempt at clothing from before 1600 CE, which is why we usually try to get people to local meetings first. We have clothing that is available to be loaned out and a lot of advice if you are interested in making your own clothing.
You can participate online with the various online communities – but remember that the SCA is something best experienced firsthand. Online might keep you up to date on events in your Kingdom, but it cannot replace the feeling of being there and the learning that happens around friends.
Local meetings are often the best place to start. Weekend or single-day events close to home are also good ways to first experience the SCA. We recommend that new members don’t try to attend longer events, called wars, without talking to members first. Attending Wars can often mean a significant investment in time, money, and energy, and we like to make sure that people get off on the right foot when they join us.
What are the requirements to participate?
At local meetings, the only requirements are to show up and have fun. At events, you are required to pay the registration cost and wear an attempt at clothing from before 1600 CE.
Beyond that there really aren’t many requirements. Your SCA adventure can take many different paths. You can do all the things or just show up and relax. You can learn about any culture or time period before 1600 CE that you wish. You can pick up a sword or a bow or a pen or a musical instrument, or all of them, or none of them.
You choose your adventure in the SCA.
We do strongly request you respect other members and their adventures though.
Please avoid bringing up topics like modern religions or modern political concerns at events or on the online forums.
The SCA has policies in place to remove people who bully or harass others based on ethnicity, sex, or sexual preference. The SCA has policies in place for those who sexually harass others. Members or non-members who violate the established standards of behavior can be removed from online communities as well as barred from participating at events or local meetings.
What can I learn?
That is entirely up to you! Whatever you have an interest in that is prior to 1601, you can explore and find friends who will share your passion!
How does the SCA relate to other groups? Is it a Ren Fair?
Ren fairs are fun ways to spend a day on the weekend. They are a show put on by the performers for the paying audience to watch.
The SCA is not a Ren Fair. Our events aren’t shows for you to watch, they are activities and adventures for you to participate in. We don’t want you to just watch us do the things, we want you to do the things too.
The Society for Creative Anachronism is a non-profit organization and SCA events are held in such a way as to not generate a profit for the organization. This means you will often find attending SCA events to cost less money over all than many other activities.
Many people do attend SCA events and Ren Fairs. If you dress up for a Ren Fair than you are probably ready to attend an SCA event. Although the clothing created by members of the SCA tends towards historical fact rather than fanciful fiction, many fantasy garments can be used to get you started at SCA events.
What will it cost?
Participation in the Society for Creative Anachronism, like many hobbies, can cost as little as you can afford or as much as you like. Most people who join the SCA are on budgets and you can participate without breaking the bank, especially if you are patient and gather things over time. If you rush in and try to buy all the cool things right away, then It can get expensive.
Local meetings are usually free to attend, but some local archery practices or fighter practices may be held in locations where you need to contribute a couple bucks to help the group rent a space.
If you are budgeting to attend an event you can break down the cost into a few basic categories: gas money, clothing, site fee, camping gear, spending money.
Gas money – this depends on where the event is. Some are right down the road, some might be a 16 hour drive away.
Clothing – you are required to wear an attempt at pre-1600CE clothing to attend events, but most people start in basic tunics or dresses that cost around $20 or just borrow something from the loaner clothing.
Site Fee – The site fees are collected to allow the non-profit organization to rent the facilities we need. For normal weekend events they can cost from $10-20 with a $5 discount for members. Week long camping events, called wars, can have site fees from $80-100. Some events will also have feasts or evening meals that often cost around $10 for a multi-course dinner attempting to replicate a medieval feast.
Camping gear – If you are going to a camping event then you will likely need camping gear, but you can also use modern tents, sleeping bags and cook stoves.
Spending money – There are often people selling materials people need for crafting or finished goods at events, but there might also be food vendors on site for larger events. If you are not camping but day-tripping an event, you might also have to budget for food on the road.