At the Sign of the Bear and Phoenix – Thank you!
Yesterday we held Bhakail’s second annual winter tavern event, At the Sign of the Bear and Phoenix, and it was truly a glorious day! Thank you so much to all who attended and participated in the fun! We enjoyed an intimate and cozy atmosphere in the spectacular German Society of Pennsylvania Ratskeller with excellent food, fine drinks shared with us by friends, marvelous games, enchanting music, lots of revelry, and the enjoyment of particularly good company.
For those who don’t know, the idea behind the tavern event is that an experienced autocrat and an experienced event cook will each take on an inexperienced person to train in running an SCA event. The trainees will work as deputies the first year, and then run the event themselves the next year. The dream is that people interested in running events will have an opportunity to learn with an event specifically created for that purpose, where they will receive lots of support and help from those willing to share their experience and knowledge. Last year, I had the honor of being the first autocrat trainee under our Baron, His Excellency Mael Eoin. My husband, Þorsteinn Hroðbjartsson, worked under Jibril ibn Ammar al-Sayyid al-Fayyad who was the head cook for the first tavern event, At the Sign of the Cross and Crescent.
This year, Þorsteinn and I were tasked with running the event as autocrat and head cook, though we had much help along the way! I am so grateful to everyone who lent their time, knowledge, patience, hard work, and help to us as we ran our first event!
As for planning, my amazing mentor from last year’s tavern, His Excellency Mael Eoin mac Echuid, stayed with me and gave assistance every step of the way and I am eternally grateful for that. He did so much to continue to teach me how to be a good event steward and offered continued support as I went through the process. He answered many, many questions and with a lot of patience and kindness. I still have a great deal to learn from him and fortunately he still seems willing to teach me.
Doña Damiana Almodóvar and Mistress Philadelphia Brown were critical in helping me learn more about the financial and legal aspects of running an event, and very patiently went through the paperwork and processes with me.
Thank you to my deputy-autocrat Sarah Isaacs who was a positive and supportive force from the moment she joined the team, always ready to do whatever was asked of her. Without her help the night before the event, we would have certainly been up late into the night prepping food, but she swooped in and stayed with us until the task was complete!
Þorsteinn and I were very lucky to have THL Muin maqq Minain on our team as Deputy-Cook who is so hard-working, knowledgeable, easy-going, and wonderful to work with that planning the menu and testing out recipes was tons of fun. In addition to their hard work in planning and preparation leading up to the event our kitchen team worked so hard all day during the event and produced incredibly delicious food that was very much enjoyed by all, judging by the empty bowls and many return trips for seconds. Honestly, they made the work look easy, and I know that it was not, and I feel like that is a testament to what a good team they were and how competently they ran the kitchen. They were assisted during the day by Dayna Tarabar who worked tirelessly to assist them with anything they needed, and James Marshall who was ready to do whatever job he was tasked with. It would be impossible to leave out Lord Martyn de Halliwell who not only brought a mountain of the Barony’s kitchen and event supplies to be used on the day, but also ran out for things the kitchen needed not once, but twice and with a smile on his face.
The tavern itself was unable to supply any alcoholic beverages for their guests, however we were fortunate enough to have wonderful folks who shared their incredible homemade beers, meads, and other tasty drinks from their personal stores, much to the delight of those that wished to partake in such treats. Huge thanks to Lord Osric Feolagildsen, Edgar Refskegg, Lord Aiden Underhill, and any others who were kind enough to share their beverages with tavern guests! You made many visitors very happy and the quality of what you shared was certainly excellent. Additionally, thanks to Lord Osric Feolagildsen, Edgar Refskegg, and James Marshall for making sure that these gifts were shared with those who desired them.
We were also lucky enough to be surrounded by wonderful music for much of the day, which added so much to the atmosphere of the tavern. We got to hear many different instruments, in addition to fabulous singing. Thank you to Mistress Sabine de Kerbriant, Isabella de Kerbriant Lord Martyn de Halliwell, Lady Lianor de Matos, and Jamilia al-Suba al-Hadid al-Bhakailia al-Sayyida for providing us with excellent music throughout the day and really helping to make us feel transported. You added so much and it was very much appreciated.
As you may know, our tavern was proud to be the location of Bhakail’s first ever Gaming Championship! The title was hard fought via the game Tafl, and though Lord Calin Macsalny put up a great fight, the day was won by THL Aurddeilen-ap-Robet. Congratulations to our first Gaming Champion! Thank you to Aurddeilen, Calin, His Excellency, and any others who brought games for visitors to play. It was so wonderful to look around the room and see so many people immersed in games around the whole tavern.
Thank you so much to our Troll team who watched the door and took care of checking everyone in! Sigvin Jansdottir, Mistress Philadelphia Brown, and Lady Violet Coleson all took on this job with smiles on their faces. This job is so completely crucial and you did it so wonderfully. Additional thanks to Sigvin who handled the pre-registration for the event!
And of course this could not have been done without our excellent set-up crew who showed up early with a smile ready and eager to do anything to help: Osric Feolagildsen, Dayna Tarabar, Calin Macsalny, Sarah Isaacs, James Marshall, Martyn de Halliwell, Muin maqq Minain, Mael Eoin mac Echuid, and Violet Coleson. And our clean-up crew who pulled together and got things done after a long day, which is not an easy task. I was so impressed by how many people stayed to help and it made a hard job much less difficult than it could have been: Osric Feolagildsen, Dayna Tarabar, Calin Macsalny, Sarah Isaacs, James Marshall, Martyn de Halliwell, Muin maqq Minain, Violet Coleson, Mael Eoin mac Echuid, Suba al-Hadid, Master Rowen Cloteworthy, Master Tanczos Istvan and Mistress Marie de Blois. (Note that many names are on both lists!) And Philadelphia Brown who stayed all the way until the end to make sure that everything was closed up without issue. Thank you all so much!
Additional thanks to Calin Macsalny who took amazing photos of the event! I didn’t have time to take a single one and it really is extra special to get to look back at all of the fun that we had.
Thank you to our Baron Mael Eoin mac Echuid and Baroness Ysmay de Lynn and the rest of our Barony who supported us in this endeavor, as people who are still doing a lot of learning but are eager to participate and help provide good food and a fun environment. In case I haven’t expressed it clearly enough, HUGE thanks to Þorsteinn Hroðbjartsson who not only ran the kitchen smooth as butter and presented fabulous food for all to enjoy, but helped and supported me throughout the whole event planning and running process. I know that I might have some bias here, but I think that any who know him will easily agree that he did so much.
Please let me know if there is anyone that I’ve forgotten! Everyone’s help and support are appreciated so much!
-Ayleth le Frye