North East Tennessee and South West Virginia's Local Branch of the SCA
The Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA, is an international organization dedicated to researching and re-creating the arts, skills, and traditions of pre-17th-century Europe.
Members of the SCA study and take part in a variety of activities, including combat, archery, equestrian activities, costuming, cooking, metalwork, woodworking, music, dance, calligraphy, fiber arts, and much more. If it was done in the Middle Ages or Renaissance, odds are you'll find someone in the SCA interested in recreating it.
What makes the SCA different from a Humanities 101 class is the active participation in the learning process. To learn about the clothing of the period, you research it, then sew and wear it yourself. To learn about combat, you put on armor (which you may have built yourself) and learn how to defeat your opponent. To learn brewing, you make (and sample!) your own wines, meads and beers.
You will frequently hear SCA participants describe the SCA as recreating the Middle Ages "as they ought to have been." In some ways this is true – we choose to use indoor plumbing, heated halls, and sewing machines. In the dead of winter we have more to eat than King's venison, salt pork and dried tubers. However, a better description is that we selectively recreate the culture, choosing elements of the culture that interest and attract us.
The major activity in the SCA is our events - the opportunity for us to put on our medieval clothing, cook and serve the recipes we've been researching, dance the dances we've been practicing, socialize, and generally have a good time. You can find a variety of SCA events taking place almost every weekend of the year, including: Tournaments, coronations, masked balls, collegiums, interkingdom wars, and more. Activities at events can include fighting, fencing, archery, art exhibits/competitions, indoor games, feasts and royal or baronial court.
SCA participants are just plain folks who enjoy doing something more with their weekends. People from all walks of life join the SCA – students, teachers, historians, writers, secretaries, law enforcement personnel, chemists, and insurance agents. Many SCA participants are involved in high tech fields – computers, aerospace, high energy physics, etc. People who spend all week with highly complex, modern technology can find it relaxing to spend their leisure time using simpler technologies in a less modern setting.
We welcome you to come to our local meetings and events. You are not required to buy a membership before you start attending, although you may wish to join if you decide to be with us regularly. Members do pay lower entry fees to events, and some kingdoms require membership to participate in certain activities.
Many local groups have officers called "chatelaines" or "hospitallers" whose sole duty is to help new members find their way in the SCA, and they can provide you with loaner costumes for your first event. Each SCA participant remembers the day he or she started, and most people are happy to help out a newcomer.