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Newcomers' Activities


Newcomers' Point Coordinator

Lady Margaret Lad


Will this be your first Pennsic – or your first SCA event?

Pennsic is a huge event with a lot of different sights, sounds, and activities. For someone new, it can be a bit overwhelming, and will certainly raise a lot of questions. Not to fear, help is here! We have several options to help make your Pennsic fantastic – classes and a social just for newcomers, and Newcomers' Point where you can drop in and ask questions. Please feel free to come by the Point or the Newcomers' Class Tent anytime just to visit, if you are in the area.

Newcomers' Point

Newcomers' Point is a place where newcomers can feel comfortable, ask questions, and learn more about Pennsic and the SCA in general. We will also be able to help newcomers get involved with their local group after Pennsic.

Location: in the same Tent as the Pennsic Watch, on the corner of Brewer's Road and Dragon Trace, across from Troll. (see map)

Hours: open Sunday, July 28 through Thursday, August 8:

July 28 - August 1: 11 am to 3 pm
August 2 - August 5: 10 am to 6 pm
August 6 - August 8: 11 am to 4 pm

Newcomers' Class Track at Pennsic University

There will once again be a special Newcomers' track of classes offered through Pennsic University. These classes will mostly be geared towards those who are new to the SCA, but will also have helpful information for those who are new to Pennsic.

Please check the Pennsic Event Guide or online at Pennsic University to see which classes will be offered each day.

Location: the Newcomers' Class Tent (A&S tent #19), located at the corner of Chandler's Road and St. Lawrence Way, close to the Great Hall.

Hours: Classes will be scheduled Wednesday, July 31 through Wednesday, August 7, during the hours of 9 am to 6pm.

Newcomers' Social - Sunday, August 4th, 1 - 4 pm

For the sixth year, the Chatelaines of the known world will host the Newcomers' Social. Newcomers are encouraged to come and meet other Newcomers as well as Chatelaines from around the Knowne World, ask questions, and partake of some light refreshments. Rumor has it that there may be some Royals attending to welcome the newcomers as well.

Location:Newcomers' Class Tent / A&S #19

For those of you who are not new to the SCA or Pennsic, if you are able to take a little bit of time to support these activities for our newcomers, we will be incredibly appreciative. Let's work together to make this Pennsic amazingly special for newcomers! For more information, or if you would like to volunteer to help, please send an email to

Pennsic FAQ

Answers to questions about Pennsic, and information about day-to-day issues at War.

If your question is not addressed here, please check the Site Rules, or the Pennsic War Guide & Checklist (aka Bart's Pennsic Guide).

Day-to-day Issues

What is Pennsic?
Pennsic is an annual event, in the guise of a "War", between the Kingdoms of the East and the Middle of the Society for Creative Anachronism Pennsic is also the largest Society event, with attendance in recent years exceeding 10,000. The scheduled activities include large melee battles, tournaments, archery, stage performances, dancing, and hundreds of classes on medieval topics. The marketplace has over 200 merchants selling a variety of wares.

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What dates does it take place?
The opening weekend of Pennsic is the last Saturday in July, and the event runs for 2 weeks. If you decide to attend Pennsic for the full two weeks, there will certainly be plenty for you to do. But if you can only make it for a week or less, you'll want to be there during the second week, as that's when the battles and most other events are scheduled. A listing of the dates of future Pennsics is on-line.

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When can I check in?
Check-in (Troll) starts for Land Grab at 9 am on Friday of the first weekend. It closes at 11:59 pm on the final Thursday.

Please note that Troll is NOT open 24 hours a day for the entirety of the War. On Mondays through Thursdays (both weeks), Troll is closed overnight from 12:01 am until 6:00 am.

The full schedule of Troll operation hours can be found on the Coopers Lake website.

If you are not a Land Agent and plan to arrive on Land Grab Friday/Saturday:
Approximately 600 Land Agents will be checking in, then meeting with other Agents to settle their blocks. The sooner they finish this, the sooner the people in their camps will be allowed to drive into the campground. Please consider this when planning your arrival at Pennsic - does your Land Agent require you to be there on Friday or Saturday morning? Extra people on the check-in line will slow down the process for everyone.

If you check in before Land Grab is concluded:
   • You must leave your car parked on the battlefield until
       1) your Land Agent is done with block negotiations, and has a car pass for you (Agents receive 5 passes)
       2) Land Grab ends and everyone is permitted to drive in
   • If your group's land is not ready on Friday, you can sleep in/near your car on the battlefield, or drive off-site to a hotel.
   • Note that there are NO fires allowed on the battlefield.

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What/When are "War Week" and "Peace Week"?
Pennsic spans 3 weekends.

The opening weekend is known as "Land Grab".

Some people refer to the first week of Pennsic as "Peace Week", since there are no War Point battles scheduled. There is still plenty to do: the Merchant areas are open, Pennsic University classes & Artisans' Row start mid-week, and by the end of the week most other activities are underway, including performances, tournaments, archery, dancing, & children's activities.

"War Week" begins with Opening Ceremonies – a grand procession of all the kingdoms to the Battlefield, where war is declared and each kingdom announces on whose side they will fight. All the War Point battles take place this week, along with Kingdom Courts and a majority of the activities.

(Note: when checking in at Troll, the official start of the second week is 12:01 am Friday. People who arrive prior to that time pay the price for two week's attendance.)

Check the website's Overall Schedule to see what will be taking place.

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Where is Pennsic held?
Coopers' Lake Campground is a 500-acre site, located in Slippery Rock, PA. The campground has several shower houses and restrooms, and many porta-johns are rented for the event. Water spigots are adjacent to most camping areas. There is a well-stocked camp store. The campground has a laundry room, 2 ATMs, and a playground. In nearby New Castle and Butler there are restaurants, supermarkets, motels, laundromats, and other stores. Moraine State Park, not far from the campground, has public swimming facilities.

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How do I get there?
Directions by car, airplane, train, or bus.
Shuttle services from the airport, train & bus stations.

For information on road conditions, construction, etc, see:
Penn DOT Traveler Information
PA Turnpike - realtime travel and weather conditions
PA Turnpike Construction/Closure schedules

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Who runs Pennsic?
Like any other SCA event, the Pennsic War is organized and run by SCA particpants - all of them volunteers. The Mayor (or autocrat) has a staff of over 60 division and department heads, plus their helpers, including Pennsic attendees (like you!) who volunteer to help out.

Coopers' Lake functions (registration, the camp store, bank, cleaning services, groundskeeping, etc.) are handled by members of the Cooper and Wilver families and their staff. You can identify them by their dark blue t-shirts with the campground logo (and sometimes blue hospital "scrubs" shirts that are reserved for their use).

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How much does it cost to attend?
The fee you pay is based on whether you arrive during the first week or the second week, and covers your camping and/or attendance through the end of the event.

A full schedule of the entry fees is on-line. There is a $10 discount for paid pre-registrations. Paid members of the SCA receive an additional $25 discount (with proof of membership shown at time of check in).

The gate fees are only the tip of the iceberg. Most of the actual cost of Pennsic will vary depending on factors unique to you. Some people can make it through a week at Pennsic spending only a couple hundred dollars, while others spend thousands. When estimating how much Pennsic will cost for you, don't forget to consider travel, accomodations, food, preparatory purchases of garb and camping gear, and shopping money.

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Is there single-day admission?
There are no single day entry rates, and no refunds for leaving early. This includes family, friends, and Clergy. All Pennsic attendees must pay the one or two week fee, regardless of how long they stay.

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Is Pennsic open to the public?
Unlike a Renaissance Faire or other public entertainment, Pennsic War is not open for the general public to visit. All attendees pay the 1 or 2 week entrance fees, and are expected to make an effort to wear appropriate garb while at Pennsic.

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How do I preregister?
Pre-registration opens on January 1st. While you don't have to pre-register to attend Pennsic, there are several advantages to doing so:
  • It will speed up your check-in, since your information will already be in the computer
  • Adults who pre-pay save on the gate fees
  • The group you are camping with is allocated their space based on how many pre-paid people have registered to camp with them.

You can pre-register in three ways:

  • Mail in a pre-registration form
    • Download a form from the Coopers' Lake website
    • Forms must be received by May 31st -- be sure to allow enough time for delivery
    • Pay by check or money order

  • On-line prepaid registration
    • The deadline is June 16th, 11:59 pm EDT
    • Pay with a credit card
    • Registrations cannot be transferred to another person

  • On-line unpaid pre-registration
    • The deadline is July 6th, 11:59 pm EDT
    • Pay at the door with cash or a credit/debit card
    • Note: no land is allotted to groups for unpaid pre-registrations

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How do I get a refund?
Pre-registrations cannot be transferred to another person, and there are no refunds for leaving the event early.
If you are unable to attend Pennsic and are already pre-registered, request a refund from Cooper's Lake Campground, by June 16 (less a $5 handling fee).
Please see the Refund Policy for full details.

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Can I bring a minor (under age 18) who is not my child?

Yes - this rule has been changed as of 2017.

Anyone under the age of 18 years must be accompanied by a parent, a legal guardian, or a notarized guardian.

A notarized guardian must be over the age of 21, and at the time of check in must present an original, notarized (original seals, no photocopies or scans will be accepted) SCA "Minor Waiver and Consent to Travel/Medical Authorization Form" (often referred to as the "Florida Form"). One form must be fully completed by the minor's parent/legal guardian and duly notarized on both the top and the bottom portions, for EACH minor child. NO other minor waiver forms will be accepted.

A parent, legal guardian, or notarized guardian must remain on-site with any minor child for as long as the minor child remains on site.

The exception to this rule is emancipated minors, who must present proof of their status at the time they check in. Adult gate fees will be applied.

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How do I get a camping space?
There are two types of camping at Pennsic: group and single camping.

Single camping
  • Camping space is set aside for those individuals or families who do not have a registered group to camp with. You can find out what spaces are still available when you check in.
  • Single campers are not required to pre-register, but it will save you time and money at check-in.
  • When you arrive at Pennsic, you will be informed what blocks in the campsite still have space for single camping.
  • Single campers who arrive together may camp together. You may not save spaces for your friend(s) arriving later.
  • Single campers cannot check in before Sunday of Land Grab weekend.
  • If you prefer to have a confirmed camping space, you have the option of registering as a Group (of 1) and going through the land allotment process below. You will need to arrive on the Land Grab weekend (Friday / Saturday).

Groups go through a land allotment process to determine where their campsite will be.
  • Group registration takes place from January 1 - June 23.
  • Any group of people can request a campsite at Pennsic – SCA local branches, households, friends with common interests, extended family, etc.
  • Every group must have one person to act as their Land Agent. The Land Agent must be able to attend Land Grab weekend to claim and stake out the group's land.
  • Each group's campsite size is determined by the number of people who have pre-registered to camp with them.
  • The Cooper's Lake Campground pre-registration form has a space to indicate the name of the group you are camping with.
  • You must be in touch with the group's land agent before pre-registering to camp with the group. The agent will give you the official registered name of the group, to avoid any confusion during the allotment process.

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Why camp with a group?
Each person who pre-registers for Pennsic is allotted a certain number square feet of camping space (usually 250 sq ft/person). When people pre-register as part of a group, their individual land allotments are pooled together and the group then gets one large chunk of land, which they can subdivide and arrange as they choose.

By camping as groups, people are able to pool their resources. Instead of each person bringing their own camp kitchen, the group might instead arrange to bring one large one that will feed the whole group on a meal plan. Groups of families might make arrangements where the adults take turns watching all the children, allowing others to have free time. Some groups arrange their tents so that there are common areas for socializing and parties. Others focus on creating period and/or themed encampments. Aside from these considerations though, there is another very good reason for camping with a group if you're new to Pennsic - you'll be surrounded by people who are more experienced. Then, if you discover you've forgotten something or need help in some way, chances are good that one of your campmates will be able to assist you.

There are many different types of groups. Some are composed of residents of a Barony, or members of a household. You'll also find guilds or people with similar interests of study, along with all sorts of other collections of people. While some groups are very restrictive as to whom they'll allow to camp with them, many are very open. Try asking around in your local area or among people you know to see if they know of a group that you can join.

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What is 'Land Grab'?
The opening weekend of Pennsic is 'Land Grab weekend'.

On Friday and on Saturday morning, the Land Agents of all the groups arrive, check in, and meet with other Agents from their block to work out the placement and boundaries of their camps.

When all Block negotiations have been completed (usually by Noon Saturday), the Gate is opened for all to drive into camp.

Why do we have Land Grab?
Land Grab in its various forms dates back to Pennsic 17. Prior to that, Pennsic was a one week event, with all the battles taking place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. With only 3-4,000 attendees, people came and set up camp whereever they wished, although certain groups had their traditional spaces, such as 'Horde Hill'. As attendance grew, so did competition for campsites, and group representatives began showing up earlier and earlier to claim their group's campsite. People with enough free time could show up in July (or June!), pay the Cooper's Lake Campground fees and set up their tent where they wanted their group's campsite to be. This was deemed unfair, both for groups who weren't able to send someone out so early to claim a campsite, and for the Coopers, who needed to have the campground clear in order to get ready for Pennsic.

Pennsic 17 (1988) was the first year where attendees received a numbered site medallion based on the order they checked in at Troll. The people with the lowest numbers were allowed to choose their campsites first. For Pennsic 21, groups submitted an estimate of their camp size prior to Pennsic, and the Land staff assigned them a plot of land based on the number of campers (and some other factors). Pennsic 25 was the first year that the size of a group's land was based on the actual number of campers who preregistered in that group's name and prepaid their fees.

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Do I need a tent?
Pennsic is a camping event. There are no cabins or bunkhouses provided (although some limited space is available for RVs), so most people camp in tents. If you don't own one of your own, try checking with friends or family to see if anyone has one you can borrow, or space in theirs that they can share. Another option is to make arrangements to rent a tent from a rental company near Cooper's Lake. While many people have period pavilions, they aren't required; modern tents are perfectly acceptable.

If you'll be using a modern tent, don't trust the capacity rating on the label or box. To come up with these ratings the manufacturers figure how many bodies can lie side-by-side on the floor of the tent. To allow space for you, your possessions, and room to move around, it's a good idea to divide the rating by three to four. So while a nominal four-person tent will be fine for one person, it's going to be cramped for two. When choosing a modern tent, try to get one that has a full fly, as it will help to keep the tent dry and to maintain proper airflow. If your tent doesn't have a fly, you can always throw a tarp over the whole thing to keep it dry. But doing so can make it very hot and stuffy inside the tent. If your tent (whether it is modern or a period pavilion) has a floor, be sure you have a waterproof groundcloth underneath it to protect the floor from rocks, twigs, and decay.

Whatever style of tent you wind up using, it's a good idea to do a test run by setting it up at home a couple of weeks before leaving for Pennsic. This way you can make sure you have all the necessary parts and that you know how to set it up. For used tents, this is the time to check for any areas in need of cleaning or repair. For new tents, this is the time to seal all the seams so they'll be waterproof. It's also not a bad idea to do a general check of the waterproofing of any tent, new or used, by running a hose over it. But be sure to let the tent dry completely before repacking it.

Some people like to bring two tents - one to sleep in and one in which to store their armor or other bulky or awkward gear. If you're borrowing a tent and you can't locate one large enough for you and your belongings, borrowing two for this purpose might be an option. Many people also bring shade awnings. While some camping areas at Pennsic have lots of trees, others have none, so don't count on having them available for shade.

If you are camping with a group, be sure to tell your Land Agent (or "Camp Mom") the dimensions of your tent, awnings, etc., so they can plan to fit you in. Remember that (if you pre-registered) they are allotted 250 square feet for you, and some of that has to be used for staked-out ropes, walkways between tents, or common areas.

When you set up your tent at Pennsic, be sure you stake it down thoroughly. If you have a self-standing modern tent, don't fool yourself into thinking that your belongings inside the tent will weight it down and hold it in place. The wind can get very strong at Pennsic, and if your tent isn't staked down, it will fly away. In fact, many people don't bother with the plastic or thin metal stakes that come with most tents, opting instead to use heavy-duty metal stakes that will hold better. When placing guy-ropes, you should flag them with strips of white or pale cloth or other material so they'll be more visible in the dark, and people will be less likely to injure themselves tripping over them. When placing your ground cloth, be sure that it covers the entire bottom of your tent, but doesn't stick out. Any spots sticking out will funnel rainwater under your tent, leading to mildew and rot, not to mention soggy belongings. Some people like to dig small trenches around their tents to direct rainwater away from the tent, particularly on any uphill sides. If you go this route, take care when removing the sod so you'll be able to replace it later with a minimum of disturbance to the area.

Of course, if camping really isn't your style, you can always choose to stay at a nearby hotel or motel. If you go this route you'll be driving to and from the site every day, and no discount is given for staying off-site. But you will have the advantage of air conditioning and a guaranteed hot shower.

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Can I keep a trailer/camper in my campsite?
You can keep a trailer in your encampment for storage or living space, but it must be disguised to look period. This can be as simple as covering it with fabric painted to resemble a stone wall, or as elaborate as you like – you will see quite a few trailers around Pennsic that people have turned into cottages, villas, gypsy wagons, even sailing ships, which they use as their living quarters.

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Can I bring a Recreational Vehicle (RV)?
RVs have their own camping area. Arrangements for RV camping must be done through the Cooper's Lake Campground website. According to the campground website: "RV camping is [an additional] $100. Sites will be assigned based on RV registration payment dates. Amenity sites will be assigned first. Sewage is not available."

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What do the merchants sell?
You may have heard about the shopping at Pennsic, which is perhaps the best in the Known World. There are two merchant areas, one in the vicinity around the camp store, and the other across the road from the Troll Booth. In these areas you will find hundreds of merchant tents and booths covering several acres. It is often said that you can arrive at Pennsic with nothing but the clothes on your back and an unlimited budget, and outfit yourself completely for the entire war. While this isn't completely accurate, almost anything you might need for Pennsic or any other Society event is for sale at the merchants.

Most merchants will accept personal checks with proper identification, and an increasing number take major credit cards. Few, if any, will accept foreign currency. If you'll be buying armor, be sure it meets your Kingdom's standards. If you'll be buying weapons, be sure you won't have any problems transporting them home, across any state or national borders or customs checkpoints you may need to pass.

When browsing the merchants, keep a list of things you are interested in, noting the booth numbers of the merchants so you can easily find them again. If your list exceeds your budget, remember that many merchants will do mail order – get their business card or make a note of them in your merchant directory so you can contact them after Pennsic.

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How can I be a Pennsic vendor/merchant?
Applications for Pennsic merchanting are due by March 30th every year. Applications received after that date are placed on a waiting list.

Visit the Pennsic Merchant Office for information on applying for merchant space, purchasing ads in the Merchant book, selling dates and hours, tax license information, and shipping merchandise to Pennsic.

Ads for the on-site merchant book are due by May 1st.

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What else should I know?
While not unique to Pennsic, there are some health and safety issues you should keep in mind.
  • Fires, torches, and candles are common lighting sources at Pennsic, so be careful with flowing clothing or veils around these sources of flame.
  • Do not attempt to have any kind of flame in your tent. People have been seriously injured or even killed by making this mistake.
  • Avoid sleeping in a hot tent during the day, as this can lead to dehydration.
  • Don't forget to wear sunscreen and/or a hat or veil.
  • The drinking age in Pennsylvania is 21. Use your common sense – if someone won't tell you what's in a drink or you can't identify it, don't drink it. Don't drink so much that you get sick or can't find your camp.
  • Though certainly not as bad as that of a typical city of 10,000+ people, there has been some theft at Pennsic. Obviously, don't leave valuables unsecured in your camp. If you'll be camping with a large enough group, you can try to arrange to always have someone in camp, keeping an eye on things. If this is impractical, at least get to know your neighbors so both you and they will be able to recognize anyone poking about who doesn't belong.

Other good advice on camping safety, health, and hygiene is in Bart the Bewildered's Pennsic War Guide.

Be sure you read and understand all of the Pennsic Site Rules listed in the Pennsic Event Guide. If you have any questions about any of the rules, be sure you obtain answers before leaving for Pennsic, so you don't have any unhappy surprises once you arrive.

News and announcements about Pennsic can be found on the Pennsic Facebook page and the Pennsic Twitter feed.

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On-Site Information

How do I find out what's going on?
Every attendee gets a copy of the Pennsic Event Guide. It has schedules for the various activities and University Classes.

Schedules will be made available on-line, and updated right up until Pennsic begins.

Town Criers travel around the Food Courts and Merchant Areas making announcements twice a day. These announcements are also posted on sign boards in those areas.

The Pennsic Independent newspaper is published daily starting the second weekend of the War. They report on the results of battles, tournaments, and other activities; and run articles, interviews, advertisements, and updates to the University Class schedule. Newspapers are sold by young "urchins" who have routes around the campsite – you can hear their sing-song cries of "Penn-sic In-de-pen-dent!" Copies are also available at the Food Court and at the Pennsic Independent tent on the Great Middle Highway, across from Runestone Hill.

The newsletter (which is privately produced and not an official publication of the Pennsic War) has been in publication for over 10 years. In prior years, other Pennsic newsletters were known as the "Pennsic War Chronicle", the "Pennsic Daily Tidings" and the "Pennsic Progress."

Activities at Pennsic
There many different things to do at Pennsic.

First, considering that this is the Pennsic War, there are an assortment of battles and archery shoots. If you are authorized you can participate in these, and if not you can be a spectator. In addition to the War Point battles, a variety of other tournaments are held over the two weeks.

If you don't fight or shoot, but are looking for another way to contribute to the war, volunteers are always needed in many areas. You could work a shift at Troll, help out at Heralds' Point or A&S Point, serve as a waterbearer, or perhaps even guard the gate of your Kingdom's Royal Encampment. Stop by Info Point to see what volunteers are needed!

The Pennsic University offers hundreds of classes on almost any conceivable topic. The class listing will be available on-line, and in the Pennsic Event Guide. To see what last minute changes or additions may have been made to the schedule, stop by University Point, which will be located amongst the tents in the Pennsic University block. There is a class track designed specifically for Newcomers. These classes offer basic information in subjects like Heraldry, Finding a Persona, Costuming, and more. Each class will include plenty of time for questions. Veteran SCA folks are welcome to attend too!

For grand pageantry, Opening Ceremonies is quite a sight to see, with the Royalty of the Known World, numerous landed Barons and Baronesses, and their entire entourages processing out to the battlefield, where war is formally declared. On a slightly smaller scale, on various evenings the Crowns of the East, the Middle, and Æthelmearc, as well as several other kingdoms, will hold their Courts.

Many music and dance classes are offered through the Pennsic University, and in the evenings there are Balls and Dances in the Dance Pavilion and the Great Hall. The Performing Arts Pavilion & Amphitheater feature theatrical productions, musicians, performers, and the Pennsic Choir. If Middle Eastern drumming and dancing are more your style, there are also a number of classes and performances.

Various people, households, and other groups host numerous parties all over Pennsic almost every night. Some of these parties are restricted or by invitation only, but many are open to all. The types of parties also vary widely. Some focus on performances at a bardic circle. Some are themed to a particular time period or type of clothing, others to a particular preferred beverage. Some are mellow socials, some can get quite raucous. Whatever your interests, chances are good you'll be able to find a party to your liking.

Take some time to enjoy the great shopping. Basic items like fabric, clothing, pottery, jewelry, and armor can be found, as well as specialized supplies. For a special night, go to Midnight Madness on Wednesday evening. The merchants stay open late and some offer special sale items, and there will be music and entertainers.

Don't forget to do a bit of Pennsic sightseeing while you are there. Climb the hill behind the battlefield (Mt. Eislinn) for a great panoramic view. And there are even more campsites, hidden from view around the lake and to the north of the parking lot – take a walking tour of the site, or ride one of the shuttle buses around the campsite. Many camps have intricate front gates, bridges, towers, "houses" and "cottages", and other architectural wonders. You may get a few ideas of your own for next year's campsite!

Also, remember this is your vacation – take some time just to relax in camp. And let people that you're new and/or that this is your first Pennsic. Who knows what other suggestions they may have for things to do?

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Busses / Getting around the campsite
Walking is the most common means of transportation at Pennsic, even though the campsite is quite large. Many paths are unpaved, and depending on where you're camped you may need to climb some hills. Be sure to bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes with you, as you're going to be walking a lot.

You can save yourself some walking by catching one of the shuttle buses that runs through the campsite and parking lot. They pick up and drop off passengers at designated stops.

Your car should only be used for bringing in your camping equipment or bringing back items from town. You may not use your car to travel around the campsite or for party-hopping,

Mobility Assistance
The Pennsic staff understands that not everyone can easily ride on the buses. To assist those with mobility needs, the Mobility Assistance golf carts will run during the same times as the buses (9:00 am to 11:00 pm).

The carts will be following the bus routes, and will stop at all bus stops, at the Town Hall tent (near the camp store), and at the Watch tent (near Troll). The carts will take you to the bus stop nearest your destination. Availability is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The golf carts are intended to assist those with mobility needs. We encourage those who are able-bodied to either walk or use the buses, so the carts are available for those who need assistance.

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Campsites (full details in the Site Rules and Exit Rules)
Hoses attached to water spigots must be equipped with a backflow preventor and a y-connector (both sold at the camp store). This allows you to always leave one open spot for the next person to connect a hose. Do not dump waste water into the lake, stream, or at the water spigots – dig a waste water sump in your camp (not more than 3 feet deep). You must fill in all pits and trenches before you leave the event; the Coopers can provide extra dirt, if you need it.

Do not use hay or straw as rushes or ground cover without the express permission of the Cooper's Lake Campground management. If permission is granted, hay/straw is available for sale at the camp store. Hay bales from the battlefield are not for common use, and may not be removed. At the end of War, rake used straw into a pile, and leave unopened straw bales next to the nearest road to your camp.

Construction projects - no structure may be taller than 16 feet. The Campground management and Pennsic staff reserve the right to order dismantled any project which, in their judgement, are deemed unsafe, unsightly, or pose an unacceptable risk of injury or property damage.

Garbage disposal - You must bag your trash and take it to the nearest dumpster; lumber and unused firewood should be stacked at the nearest road to your camp - not taken to the dumpsters. Do not abandon any large items (furniture, mattresses, old tents, etc.) in your campsite. You are responsible for removing oversized items from the campground; the rubbish service employed by the Campground will not take them.

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Firewood can be purchased at the camp store, or at an off-site location. Do not cut the campsite's foliage for firewood. Under no circumstances may garbage, refuse, hay, or straw be burned. Firepits must not be more than 3 feet deep. Before leaving camp, extinguish any fires so that they are no longer smoking or smoldering. Firepits must be filled in before you leave; the Coopers can provide extra dirt for filling holes, if you need it.
Due to the Emerald Ash Borer and other invasive pests (see details), please plan on purchasing firewood locally, or bringing in only packaged, kiln-dried firewood. If you have any locally-purchased firewood left over at the end of Pennsic, do not take it home with you.

You do not need to burn all your leftover wood at the end of Pennsic. Please leave it neatly stacked at the nearest road to your camp. The campsite will be able to use it for fall bonfires. Do not put firewood into the dumpsters; the trash pickup company will not take wood and have to sort it out of the garbage.

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Deliveries at Pennsic
Firewood and pizza deliveries must be met at the Troll Booth. The Troll Booth will not be able to send someone to look for you or to accept items on your behalf.

Deliveries of other items (rental tents, tables & chairs; catering food, propane, appliance rentals, lumber, etc.) must be prearranged with the vendor – see the Delivery Procedures.

For information on Mail and Package deliveries, please see the Site Rules.

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Emergency phone number at Pennsic
The emergency number for Pennsic is 724-636-1500 (new for 2016). This number is only active during Pennsic. Please tell people left at home to call only in emergencies. Callers must leave a message with your full modern name, your SCA name, the name of the group you are camping with, and the block number. (Make sure they know how to spell all these names!)

We can only attempt to deliver a message in the event of an extreme emergency. Otherwise, we simply post the name of a message's intended recipient on the board in front of Info Point. Please be sure to check the board regularly. If you have reason to believe that people at home will need to reach you for non-emergency reasons, we suggest you regularly phone them to check in, rather than telling them to call the emergency number.

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Entry/Re-entry into campground
Medallions: The medallion you receive when you check in is your personal receipt and access pass into Pennsic. It is not transferable, and you should wear it at all times. (Wristband IDs are available for babies and young children.) When you leave the campground, please make sure you take your medallion with you; you will be asked to show it every time you reenter the campground.

Note: the battlefields, archery range, and "B" camping blocks are outside of the main gates, and you will need to show your medallion to enter and return from those areas! Anyone attempting to enter the campground without a medallion will have to go through check-in again and pay the appropriate fees. Anyone attempting to reenter the campground by crossing or removing fences, or by transferring medallions shall be evicted from the site without refund.

Vehicle passes: You will receive a permanent pass for your vehicle when you check-in. This should be hung from the rear-view mirror while you are on-site; staff members at the re-entry gate will ask to see it.

(Note: remove the pass from your mirror when you leave the campsite, as police can ticket you for having a "windshield obstruction.")

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The most economical way of feeding yourself at Pennsic is to do your own shopping and cook for yourself. There aren't any grills or firepits provided in the camping areas, so you'll need to bring a camp stove or grill along with whatever other equipment you may need.

There are two food courts (one near the Troll Booth, and another in/near the barn), where vendors offer a wide selection for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and other refreshments.

The newly expanded camp store, located in the barn, sells drinks, prepared lunch items, and snacks; milk, eggs, bread & other baked goods; some frozen meats, fresh fruits & vegetables; dry goods and canned goods. If they don't carry what you need, there are supermarkets in Butler, New Castle, and Slippery Rock, within 20 to 30 minutes travel time.

If you don't have the equipment to put together a camp kitchen, or if you just don't want to bother, there are other options:

  • Many groups organize meal plans. These might cover 3 meals a day, or just dinners. Ask your friends or the people you'll be camping with if they know a group meal plan you can join.

  • You can buy all your meals at the food court, but this can cost more, and sometimes the lines can be long.

Even if you decide to join a meal plan or eat at the food court, it is a good idea to bring a small cooler for yourself to keep beverages or small snacks.

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What facilities does the campground have?
•  An expanded camp store, located in the building across from Town Hall, carries a wide variety of groceries, produce, baked goods, refrigerated and frozen items, and camping supplies. Bags of ice and gallons of water are available at the front of the store, along with a propane tank exchange.

•  There are ATM machines at the front of the camp store and in the food court.

•  There is a small coin-op laundromat on site, but the wait for washers and dryers can be very long during peak hours. If you prefer not to wait, there are several laundromats nearby on Route 422 in New Castle and Butler (check the Merchant Guide for their listings).

•  The campground has several shower houses with flush toilets at different points around the site, and during Pennsic a large number of portable toilets are placed all around the campsite.

While the showers are all heated, the high attendance at Pennsic leads to a high demand on the hot water, often resulting in a tepid or even cold shower. Many people prefer to bring solar shower bags and erect shower stalls in their camps, and some even build heated showers.

•  There are water spigots located all over the site, and one should be within a block of your camp. If you don't want to make repeated trips to the spigot, you can run a hose to your camp. You must use a Y-splitter (so that you leave at least one open spot for others to connect a hose), and a backflow preventer (to prevent water from being sucked back from your hose into someone else's). These are sold at the camp store.

You should be aware that the water at Pennsic has a very high mineral content. While it is safe to drink, many people don't like it, and prefer instead to buy bottled water. Also note that there is no bathing or washing permitted at the water spigots, and you'll need to dispose of your wastewater in a sump pit.

•  Electricity is available at a few campsites, including the one for Disability camping, but don't count on having electricity in your particular campsite. There are outlets at the bathhouses to use for hairdryers and grooming appliances. While there are public outlets at various buildings, you are not permitted to use them to charge cell phones or other electronic devices. Volunteer for a Pennsic department - they will gladly allow you to charge your phone while you are working a shift!

•  Cell phone service is pretty good at the campground, but realize that you will be sharing service with 10,000+ other people, so your network may not function as well as usual.

•  Internet / WiFi: the Cooper's Lake Internet Cafe (CLIC) is located at the front of the camp store (near the ice sales) and is open 8 am - 9 pm. They provide printing/copying/scanning/fax services, secure cell phone & device charging, PC's available for public use, and tables with electric access. WiFi is available around the camp store and battlefield, and access packages can be purchased. See CLIC pricing.

Special facilities during Pennsic:

•  There are two food courts; one near the Troll Booth, and another near/in the Barn.

•   The US Postal Service operates a Post Office during the latter part of Pennsic. In the past, they have struck special postmarks for Pennsic War.

•   The Coopers operate a (limited) bank inside the Barn where you can cash travelers checks and get change for large bills. They don't provide foreign currency exchange or credit card cash advances.

•   Pennsic Postcards and other memorabilia are sold in a tent located between the playground and Currie Road. In some years, if you mail a postcard from here, it will be struck with a special commemorative postmark for the Pennsic War. This tent is also where you can purchase/order the aerial photos that are taken of Pennsic each year.

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There are several hotels and motels in nearby New Castle, Butler, and Slippery Rock.

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Lost and Found
The Lost and Found is located in the Town Hall tent, by the Camp Store. An auxiliary Lost and Found station will be open on the main battlefield one hour before each battle. Read more details about Lost and Found.

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Parking / Paid Parking
The parking lots are at the north and west ends of the campsite (see map), with handicapped spaces available in the west lots. The bus routes service both lots.

Closer-in paid parking lots are located near the battlefield. Car tags for paid parking can be purchased for $20 at the "War Room", located in the large metal building downhill from Troll. You will need to turn in the parking pass you were issued when you checked in.

Paid parking is usually sold on the first Sunday of Pennsic, and additional spaces open up and are sold the second Sunday.

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Absolutely no pets are permitted at Pennsic. This includes (but is not limited to) ferrets, snakes, birds, cats, and dogs. Individual exceptions may be made for service animals. (see Disability Services).

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Quiet Hours
Quiet hours are 2am - 7am. Please be considerate of your neighbors when contemplating high-decibel night-time activities (drumming, piping, singing, etc.)

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No one is permitted to swim in the lake. Nearby Moraine State Park has lakeside beaches and public swimming facilities.

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What is the weather like?
During Pennsic, days can be very hot and humid – temperatures of over 100°F (37°C) are not uncommon. Meanwhile, temperatures can drop drastically at night, even into the 40's (4°C). There is usually at least one big rainstorm during the two-week period, sometimes with high winds.

Because you'll be outdoors many more hours of the day than usual, be sure to wear sunscreen, even on overcast days. A hat or veil on your head will not only keep the sun off your skin and out of your eyes, but will also help to keep the sun from cooking your brain. While sunglasses are not period, many Pennsic-goers do choose to wear them. Be sure you drink enough water and keep your electrolytes balanced, and remember that alcohol and caffeinated beverages will dehydrate you. Heat can also diminish your appetite, so be sure you eat enough for your activity level. Don't count on having trees in your camp – if you want to have shade, bring a shade fly to create your own.

For those times that it gets cold or wet, a good cloak is a treasure. But if you don't have one, don't hesitate to wrap a blanket around yourself, wear a raincoat, or even use an umbrella. Staying warm and healthy is far more important than looking historically accurate. As a precaution against serious storms, many people keep a dry set of modern clothing in a waterproof container or in their car.

Bring enough bedding to keep you warm at night. A dry cloak makes a great extra top blanket when the temperature drops. Also, a snug cap will keep your head, and you, warm. Remember that air mattresses act as convection cells, and will suck the heat out of your body and pump it into the ground. Try to get it off the ground, or put something (carpet, blanket, etc.) between it and the ground to insulate it. Also, if you make your bed before the sun sets, it will keep the evening dew from settling on your bed and leaving you with clammy sheets.

There are more details about Pennsic weather patterns in Bart the Bewildered's Pennsic guide.

Forecasts for Slippery Rock, PA can be found at:, and National Weather Service

Pennsic War is an annual event between the East and Middle Kingdoms of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., and takes place within the Kingdom of Æthelmearc at Cooper's Lake Campground. Webhosting services are generously donated by (Public Access Networks Corporation). The Pennsic War event staff thank Panix for their continued support of the SCA and the Pennsic War.

This is the recognized web site for the Pennsic War of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. was designed by Mistress Jessa d'Avondale and is maintained by Lord Randver Kveld-Ulfr. This site may contain electronic versions of the group's governing documents. Any discrepancies between the electronic version of any information on this site and the printed version that is available from the originating office will be decided in favor of the printed version. For information on using photographs, articles, or artwork from this website, please contact the Webminister, who will assist you in contacting the original creator of the piece. Please respect the legal rights of our contributors. Copyright ©2019 Pennsic War. The original contributors retain the copyright of certain portions of this site.

The photo on this page is used by permission of Thorolfr inn smithr. Most of the illuminations used on this site are from the Manesse Codex.

Portions of this page were contributed by Maïtresse Irène leNoir and Duchess Sedalia MacNare.