It was a good day for a war up at the Martin Ranch in Clinton.
Romans. Vikings. Saracens. Saxons. Mongols. And more, they all come together at events such as these, dressed with more or less historical accuracy. Some get by with a facimile of weapons and dress, with a backup supply of duct tape in the trunk, while others are much more fastidious right down to the linen thread – or did they use leather?
The same factions have been facing off against each other for 36 years now over the August long weekend, throwing down the gauntet and drawing swords and daggers.
The 100 or so people who gather for the annual Clinton War these days, however, put the Saturday morning War behind them quickly and spent the rest of the weekend planning for the slave auction and socializing at the tavern with friends (and brawling with “enemies”) they haven’t seen since this time last year.
There’s also the occasional random rapier attack on the street. They always end badly for someone.
The Clinton War has been taking place on the same piece of land for 36 years. For 30 years it was a sanctioned event of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) and attracted up to 2,500 participants in the years before the group stopped hosting it.
Enough of the old group remain to keep it going, and every year they’re joined by a few new people.
“It’s gotten more communal,” says “Cassandra”, who keeps the peace at the site. “It’s become the family you like to see.”
“Even though the numbers have gone down, we have a lot of fun,” says Tadek, merchant and War Commander for the House of Sigis.
The SCA has about 30,000 members worldwide who are dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts and skills of pre-17th Century Europe. In the days when it was an SCA event, The Barony of Lions Gate (Vancouver) in the Principality of Tir Righ (within the Kingdom of An Tir) would meet the Shire of Coill Mhor (100 Mile House) in Clinton.
Although war would inevitably break out between the two sides, there would also be time for dancing and music, and exchanging information on weapons, baking, garment making and the many other arts and skills required by pre-17th Century people.
None of that has changed. If the numbers are down, it just makes it more fun and less formal. They’ll be back again next year.