September 27, 2005

Picking the wrong event.

When deciding what re-enactments I do each year, I consider many things. There are three factors: A) My own past experiences at this event. Did I enjoy it or was it bad? If it was bad, was it because of something outside the events control (weather, bad experience with the public, natural disaster, etc) or was it their fault (lack of planning, no water/wood/restrooms, poorly organized, overly demanding). 2) Recommendations from other re-enactors. If another re-enactor recommends I try an event, this weighs heavily in my decision. Especially if it is a re-enactor, I know really well. If there are multiple re-enactors recommending that I try the same event. D) Do I have anything else going on that weekend? Am I free that weekend or do I already have plans? Sometimes I will change my plans to do an event, depending on what is going on. 4) How far away from my house is it? I no longer do re-enactments that are more then a 3-hour drive from my house. It’s too much of a hassle to drive that long and set up only to have to tear down, load, drive back and put away all my equipment at the end of the day. This is a hobby I do to relax, not to run myself ragged. As it is, I usually take the Monday after each event off work.

For this last weekend, my formula went all to hell. I participated in an event I had never done before called Frenchman’s Frolic. For the last 4 years, I had done the Belvidere Pioneer Festival on this weekend instead. I should have stuck with my instincts this weekend and done Belvidere instead. Frenchman’s was a complete bust. Lets break it down using my formula A) I had never done Frenchman’s. Belvidere I had done for 4 years and always had fun and enjoyed the event, other then rain issues I don’t recall having a bad time there. 2) I have had many re-enactors I have known for years tell me how great Frenchman’s is. The only people that have told me they like Belvidere are the ones that still participate in it. D) Both are within 10 minutes of my house. 4) I had planned on doing Belvidere as a given event all the way up to Clan Chattan getting together to go over the schedule of the year. Then I changed to try to keep group harmony and from the way people where talking in the group I was trying to protect my reputation as well. (I think we all know how well that went! IE I left the group back in June).

Based on my formula I normally would have done Belvidere. My formula didn’t fail; I failed my formula. Let me tell you why:

The members of Clan Chattan that read this site will remember the heated discussion had about what event we did, Belvidere or Frenchman’s. I was told that it was a live fire camp with shooting competitions, many vendors, it’s a re-enactment just for re-enactors (very little public, so it’s really relaxed), a lot of people participate at it. I can honestly say I was serious misled. I was able to shoot for a total of 5 minutes at the post shoot. The rain was part of the factor in this. After the post shoot the range was closed for the bow competition. The way they talked it sounded like they where NOT going to reopen the range that day, rain or shine. I wanted to shoot, that was the main reason I wanted to go. They did open it up later in the day at 6:20 PM; the sunset on Saturday was around 6:50, with all the cloud cover it was too dark to shoot by 6:35. I wasn’t about to get my musket dirty again for 15 minutes of shooting. It never opened again.

As for the vendors, there wasn’t a single one there. No food vendors, no shooting supply vendors, nothing! There was also less then 20 camps there. I was told that one of the larger national events moved to this weekend and most of the vendors went to that. However, no one is sure where all the other re-enactors went. There was a lot of speculation, but no one knew for sure. It was a very quite camp, really sober somber.

It didn’t help that it rained most of the day on Saturday AND Sunday. It also didn’t help that both Ktreva and Clone got sick Saturday night and where up all night vomiting. I tried to warn her not to let Clone drink from THAT bottle, but she wouldn’t listen! That’s a joke people! They had some kind of food poisoning. Something that I didn’t eat, which left one culprit, bad apples.

Ktreva was bored out of her mind the entire weekend. There was nothing for her to do there except watch Clone. At least with vendors, you can go on a walk about and see what they have, even if you aren’t buying.

As for me, I joined in the post shoot... I was on the third place (second loser) team, which won me a beer. Hey, free beer is good. For those of you that don’t know, a post shoot is a competition to shoot a 2X4 in half in the shortest amount of time. My friend Jim, his father, his son and his friend that camped with them where the team that won, for the fourth straight year. On Sunday, I watched the second half of the bow shoot. (It was postponed on Saturday due to rain) and on Sunday I was in the Tomahawk throw.

The point of the ‘hawk competition is to cut a playing card in half with a single throw of a tomahawk AND have it stick in the block. I would have won, I cut the card in half, but my ‘hawk didn’t stick. The block was hard and everyone was having trouble with getting their ‘hawks to stick. I wasn’t able to duplicate that feat.

After the tomahawk throw, we packed up camp and went home. You know an event went bad when you where home, unpacked, had the wet canvas hung and were able to watch the fourth quarter of a noon game. Normally I’m lucky to get all of that done and be able to see kick off the Sunday night game.

If it weren’t for the fact that our friend Jim and his camp was there the entire weekend would have completely and utterly sucked. Most of the camps were spread far apart and separated from one another. There just wasn’t the camaraderie there that was at most of the other events. This again may be in part due to the rain, but I don’t think so. Saturday the rain was finished sometime around 5:00 PM.

I don’t know if I’ll do this event next year or not to be honest with you. I’m thinking about joining the club so any friend with me and I can go shooting there anytime we want. If I do that, then I think I’ll have to go back. If I don’t join, I’ll probably go back to Belvidere.

Posted by Contagion in Re-enacting life. at September 27, 2005 04:47 PM | TrackBack

I'm sorry I missed Belvidere this year, but you know why....

Posted by: Graumagus at September 27, 2005 10:40 PM

I have to say you should have known because anything with Frenchmen in it has to be bad.

Posted by: Machelle at September 28, 2005 07:57 AM

I love Machelle's comment! I hope Ktreva and Clone are feeling better!

Posted by: oddybobo at September 28, 2005 08:43 AM

You had a third option... Fall Fest.

Actually, though I had a good time, it's on the decline. Sad.

Posted by: That 1 Guy at September 28, 2005 10:03 AM

Will you be doing the reenactment at Cantigny in October?

Posted by: Omnibus Driver at September 29, 2005 09:24 AM

Wow, I'm glad I only have one event to deal with a year. I definitely don't need a 3rd full time job.

Posted by: Michele at October 6, 2005 09:20 AM