How do I find out what's going on?
Every attendee gets a copy of the Pennsic War Event Guide book. 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 Town Hall to see what volunteers are needed!
The Pennsic University offers hundreds of classes on almost any conceivable topic. The class listing is included in the Pennsic War Event Guide book. To see what last minute changes or additions may have been made to the schedule, see the on-line class listing, or stop by University Point, located 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?