For most people the Amtgard event Winterbash didn’t start till Thursday, but my journey began on Wednesday evening. I spent Tuesday packing my car so I wouldn’t have to worry about forgetting anything for Wednesday, it mostly worked, I ended up forgetting the money for the till for B’s Snack Bar, but that was the only thing.
I journeyed up to to Uriel and Heldris’ place for the evening to spend the night. The goal was to pack the car that evening so we could leave in the morning without any issues. It worked. We woke up and left by 9.
I decided to avoid highway 26, which would take me over the mountains due to snow and ice. I instead took highway 30 through the gorge region. It added 30 minutes to the trip but I think it was worth it. I had mixed reports from people who took 26 indicating that it was still icy and I was glad I didn’t take the chance.
We got on site around 11:20. Most of the rest of the staff got there around 1. Chameleon and Uriel set up gate and everything was ready to go at 2. Technically gate opened up at 2:03 though, people were jokingly counting.
After everything was going smoothly Uriel and I headed to the store to buy food and beers for the weekend. The car was so full that we were unable to do the shopping before we unloaded the car.
We got back on site just in time for me to run the Early Bird Tournament. I got dressed into my Amtgard garb, told people to head down the pavilion and then headed down there myself. It was supposed to start at 5 and we ended up starting at 5:05 so I consider that a win. It was a 20 minute, single short sword bear pit. 1st place was Hyde, 2nd was Fazadar and 3rd was Critias.
I tried my best to reeve but it’s hard to reeve two pits at once so I wouldn’t really consider what I was doing reeving. I was mostly making sure things ran smoothly. Darb was in charge of keeping score and he did a wonderful job.
I got the chance to coach Ozzward a little. He was bobbing his sword arm left to right, which was allowing people to time him and get his arm. I mentioned he should stop that and he did. He listens well. Indra would have been furious if I coached him in a tournament, it breaks his groove but Ozzward said he was fine with it.
Later that night I took Fritz out for pizza at a local pizza joint. My goal was to order a large enough pizza that I would have breakfast and lunch for the next two days. I must say it was a success. I probably could have survived on a smaller pizza to be honest, but the larger pizza meant food for Sunday morning as well.
I didn’t expect to go hard on Thursday night, I had planned that for Friday night, mostly because more of my friends would be there but I was wrong. Thursday night turned out to be the night I stayed up the latest. I didn’t get to bed till about 4-4:30. Nothing especially special happened during the night, there weren’t any planned activities, I just stayed up talking with people throughout the night.
I woke up at a reasonable time. I ate breakfast, set up B’s Snack Bar and went to work setting up the field for the team tournament. I was ready to fun the tournament noon but I was having some trouble rounding up all the teams. Four teams had signed up but only three teams showed. That meant that one team would automatically go to the finals. Arcana and he Lion Meme Team played rock paper scissors to see which team would go to the finals without a fight. Arcana won.
The first two teams to fight were the Lion Meme Team and Team Chaos. Team Chaos was made up of people from Dusk Hollow (Dallas, OR). The first round was a standard 3 life shatter battle. Each person had 3 lives and once all the team members lives were gone they were eliminated. Lion Meme Team won that round.
During the first round the fourth team showed up, Eclipse. That meant that Arcana had a fight rather than just advancing straight to the finals. This round was also a standard 3 life shatter battle. It was hard fought but in the end Aracana won out. That left Lioin Meme Team and Arcana going into the final.
The final round was a 15 minute point scoring game. A cone would start in the center and the goal was to get it back to your base and hold it for 30 non-consecutive seconds. Once the point was scored another cone was dropped into the center of the field.The cone was a heavy object, so you needed two open hands and you had to walk slowly.
The final was hard fought and the score, while lopsided, did not tell the whole story. It was closer than the points would suggest. I was not overly happy with how the final game went.. If I had to do it again I would change the time you needed to hold the cone to 1 minute or a 1 minute 30 seconds. While I don’t think this would have changed the outcome of the game it would have made the points less lopsided and feel less demoralizing.
While it starting a little late, the team tournament fit within the two hour block that it was scheduled for. After the tournament I am unsure of what happened, I do know that Kormac started his games on time though. I went to the main building to check on Fritz and B’s Snack Bar. He was holding down the snack fort while I ran my tournaments and did my other co-crat duties.
The rest of the day was pretty easy going, sadly I don’t have anything to report on for the games. I was busy checking up on my little store and visiting with people. Occasionally I helped Uriel take out the trash. When 5 o’clock rolled around Fritz and I closed down the store.
At 6 o’clock House Gravy held our meeting in the main building. We talked about our next planned service event, the Norther Lights Mid-reign breakfast which we are donating. I think the menu will be pancakes, scrambled eggs and sausage, with the possibility of waffles. We also talked about the feasibility of us putting in a bid for Winterbash, which it looks like we will probably do. We have enough active members willing to do crat positions that most if not all, positions will be made up of House Gravy members. We ended by talking about potential new members.
I’m excited for the future of House Gravy. We have a decent amount of active members and our membership is only growing. We already span two kingdoms, Blackspire and Northern Lights, although we have no full members in NL. We have two people we are going to be voting on soon and maybe a third. That will put us at 19 members if all 3 get in.
Next at 7, was the Circle of Knights Meeting. I was a few minutes late because I snagged dinner from the kitchen. It was a chicken cacciatore like meal. It was tomato sauce, shredded chicken and noodles. It was okay. Some people complained that it was to salty, but I would disagree. It was very acidic, but that was mainly due to the amount of sauce put on my plate, it was a bit much. The actual taste of the sauce was good. The chicken tasted well, but was dry and the noodles were properly cooked. It was a decent meal and there was a lot of it.
The actual CoK meeting was a bit boring but mildly productive. It’s hard to blog about because it’s supposed to be secret. I will say we voted on someone but they did not pass. We also talked about another person which boiled down to, if you think they deserve more awards, put them in the awards form. As is tradition the newest knight brought booze to the meeting which was Green She went above and beyond and brought a mini bar, it was well received. When It was my turn 5 years ago I brought a case of wine made from my grandparent’s grapes.
After the meeting I went over to the Pavilion and joined in on Jerago’s vigil. On Saturday he was to be elevated to knighthood and the vigil is a time to celebrate and reflect. Traditionally people would impart their advice to the person. I believe I was the first to impart some advice to the knight to be at the vigil. I told him there would be a period of adjustment after he was knighted that could potentially trigger a depressive episode. Getting knighted is like getting a life time achievement award and it can be hard to figure out what to do next.
Brynyar, Jerago’s knight, went all out for his squire. He made a viking themed charcuterie board filled with meats and cheeses. He also supplied adult drinks, wooden signs with the virtues of knighthood carved into them and a book for people to write in that would go to Jerego. When writing in the book I managed to write my name wrong, which made me feel pretty silly.
After spending some time at the vigil I headed up to the main building to check out the masquerade ball that was organized by Kai. When I arrived at the main hall there were several people dancing to the music, the atmosphere was very jovial. I even managed to dance a little bit. Most of the people were younger, coming from Dusk Hollow (Dallas, OR) but that didn’t matter. People came in and out, dancing and having a good time. I took a few videos. I am really proud of the angle of the conga line video, which you can view HERE. I also took a video of just random dancing which you can see HERE.
I believe the masquerade ball was a big success. It started at 8 and was supposed to end at 10 but it went on till at least midnight. If I do end up running next Winterbash I will certainly conciser doing this again, provided that Kai wants to run it. It’s great to give that we gave so many options of night activities. Friday had the masquerade ball, the tavern ran by Kormac, a magic the gathering tournament and of course Jerago’s vigil. The options at this event were varied and appreciated.
The rest of the night was general chatting. I spent more time back at the main pavilion talking with Jerago and those who stood around the fire. I ended up going to bed much earlier than I expected, around 2 or 3 in the morning.
I woke up around 10 this morning and set about eating and setting up the snack bar. Today was the day of the main tournament, which Heron was running. Still, I wanted to be there to make sure everything ran smoothly. Fritz was, again, watching the snack bar while I worked.
I was worried that Heron was going to be late because she was off site, but she arrived with enough time to prepare for the tournament. It was a pool based tournament, with each pool doing a round robin. The top two people from each pool would then fight in a bracketed tournament.
I ended up being a score keeper for pool one. it ran pretty smoothly, although it rained the whole time. We didn’t have enough people to reeve all the fights but from what I saw people were clean and at least in my pool I didn’t hear any complaints. First place went to Big Mac, second place went to Twixter and third place went to Critias.
I’m glad that Heron chose this format. It is different from what Blackspire is used to and something similar will be used at Pacwar this year for the Olympiad. It is good for people to get some experience with the format before the big tournament. It was also refreshing to get to see something new. People seemed to appropriate trying something new, but some didn’t like the tournament style. Specifically the part where you had to fight three different styles against each opponent, short sword, two shorts and sword and board.
After the tournament I made my way back to the snack shop. I ate some of my noodles for lunch and then took over for Frtiz. He wanted to fight in the main battle and I didn’t blame him. He sat there most of the day on Friday. This left me sitting in the main hall for the next several hours. People came and went, so I had people to visit with so it wasn’t too boring.
After the battle games were over Fritz came back and we decided that we would keep the store open for dinner in case people wanted to buy candy or pop, which turned out to be a good idea. We sold a few extra candy bars and several cans of pop. In the end we made about $20-$25, not much, but it was worth it. The people who bought items were appreciative. I split the profits with Fritz and gave him most of the left over pop and chips.
The biggest downside to watching the snack bar was I wasn’t able to take a look at the Dragon Master entries. I was looking forward to seeing the entries this year, several people entered their items in hopes of getting feedback before Olympiad. Of personal interest was Derek Roth’s stories. I’ve been pushing for his 9th Dragon and wanted to see the scores. Later I learned he got some pretty decent scores so I’m hopeful he’ll get his 9th soon.
Dinner was cooked by Baine, in fact, all three evening meals were cooked by Baine. Saturday’s dinner was tandoori style chick, rice and vegetables. To be honest, it was a let down. The chicken had a decent flavor but was overcooked and dry and the rice was severely under cooked to the point of being crunchy; the vegetables were well cooked however. The rice, if it were cooked, would have done well to have a sauce or at least butter.
I understand that Baine forgot his large rice cooker, but I mentioned to him on Thursday that cooking large vats are rice is very difficult to do and he probably shouldn’t do it. He did have time to change his side at the time but he said he could, evidently he couldn’t. It was all very disappointing. I had high hopes for Baine’s feast, he has cooked one of my favorite Amtgard feasts, a Mediterranean inspired feast, and he did it very well. He was unable to replicate that success this weekend.
After feast there was court down int he main pavilion. The main crat, Uriel and the co-crats, Galinmorn and myself, were called up to court. Uriel said a few words then we stepped down and those running the individual competitions this weekend were called up to give the prizes for the winners. That part went pretty quickly, then we moved into the awards.
There were many awards that went out at this court, It was hard for me to keep track of who won what, but Akryn made quick work of it. Of note was the Order of the Crowns. We were one of the last kingdoms to hand out the awards. There were many that went out, although he only handed out 7 and above at court, which was a wise move.
I was very anxious to find out where I was going to end up on the Order of the Crowns path. Based off my crown points and my previous land level offices I hoped for 10 but figured it could be as low as 9. As he called up the 9 people, I hoped I would be called up for 10, then as he finished with the 10 people I began to worry that I might have been missed. Then much to my surprised, I was called up and given my Master Crown. It’s very rare that I’m surprised by an award now a days, but this surprised me. Walking back to where I was standing, I got a bit emotional, something I usually don’t get. It was a wonderful feeling.
I apologize that I am unable to give a list of highlights for awards. I probably should have taken notes and at PacWar I might just do that. I will admit I was thinking more about myself and where I would be on the Crown path rather than where other people fell on awards and I apologize.
After court it was time for more visiting. I spent an unexpected amount of time hanging out with Big Mac and Ursor. Big Mac and I talked fighting and his perspective on up and coming sword fighters. It turns out Ursor is a follower of my blog, which I didn’t expect. It’s always nice to hear that someone reads my blog. He especially likes the bits when I talk about teaching my Man at Arms. He convinced me to go to Forgotten Glades at some point so I can write about it. I think I might try to go there in March, February is a bit full with Kingdom Level Events to promise any traveling. The whole experience reminded me a bit of the pre-Blackspire days where I’d hangout with Usor at a Mystic Seas campout. It was nice.
Sunday was of course, clean up day. People were a little late getting off site, but it wasn’t to bad. Most people cleaned out there cabins well, although we had to sweep a few and take out some trash. I had hoped that a few more people would stay behind to help clean up the bathrooms, pavilion and main building, but we managed. Savage cleaned up the main bathrooms mostly by himself which is no small feat.
The ranger was very irate for no apparent reason, to the point of actually yelling at us. She was being very unreasonable. The site was clean and was in the condition that we received it. At one point she wanted us to take apart the oven and stove and do a deep cleaning which was rather insane. I have no idea why she was behaving in such a manner, it was beyond unprofessional.
In the end we got off site at 4:30. We were starving but we didn’t stop at Pig and Pancake as was traditional and made our way to Camp 18. The food was good and it was nice to relax a little bit in the middle of the drive. We continued on to Beaverton and I dropped off Uriel and Heldris and then headed home. I got home around 8:30 and headed straight to bed. I slept for 12-13 hours, it was much needed.
The event was very successful. Everything ran pretty much on time, which isn’t usual for Amtgard, I am proud of that fact. Nothing major occurred and I believe most, if not everyone, had a wonderful time. It was a great Winterbash.
As for myself I had a good time, I apologize I didn’t do any drinking shenanigans like I often do. It was a fairly mellow event in that regard. I also apologize for not having any information on the games. After doing the tournaments I had other duties I had to oversee. I was very grateful for my Master Crown and look forward to pursing my Crown Belt in the next year or two.
Next weekend I will be attending the celebration at Dusk Hollow. They were raised to Barony status at Winterbash, which is a great achievement. It promises to be a good event.
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