Kingdom Arms by Robin of Thornwood Calligraphy by Robin of Thornwood Populace Badge by Robin of Thornwood

The Fifty-First Year

Golden Beltane -- Kingdom of the West

April 29 - May 8, 2016 (AS LI)

Bar SZ Ranch,
Paicines, CA

From The Page (April, 2016):

Join the festivities in the Kingdom of the West as we celebrate our 50th year since The First Tour­nament in Mistress Diana's back yard!

Gates open at 1:00 p.m., Friday, April 29th, coronation is Saturday the 30th, and on Sunday, May the 1st, the West Kingdom, hosted by the Ladies of the Order of the Rose, proudly invites the entire Known World to participate in the commemoration of 50 years since The First Tournament as fighter, consort, or observer, to fight for the honor of crowning one's inspiration as Queen or King of Love and Beauty. Plus all maidens (and former maidens) will be invited to dance the Maypole.

Throughout the week, enjoy classes, fighting, feasting, singing, dancing, bardic circles, music, displays, arts and sciences, equestrian activities, the Chapel of the White Rose, war and hospitality for which the West is renown.

The week-long celebration will culminate in a Towne Faire on Saturday, May 7th, with final court on Sunday, May 8th.

If there is something you want to do, please let us know in advance so we can try and put you into the schedule be it a display, a class or an activity. If you do not let us know in advance, feel free to suggest activities and have a good time without advanced planning.

This promises to be a once in a lifetime celebration of the creation of our Kingdom. Truly, this will be an event no one will want to miss!

The website for the event is (address omitted).

Site Information: Bar SZ Ranch at (address omitted), Paicines, CA 95043.

Site Opens: 1:00 p.m. on Friday, April 29.

Site Fees: Preregistered: $50 for the event or $10 per day.,
Nonpreregistered $75 for the event or $15 per day.
The family caps are $175 for preregistered for the week and $250 for nonpreregistered for the week.
The merchant fee is $20 and must be preregistered.
The nonmember surcharge of $5 per person applies for this event and will be collected at the gate.
Children under the age of 6 are free. Children 6 and older will be charged as listed above.

As of this writing, preregistration can only be done by sending a check made out to West Kingdom to Alys Graye (address omitted). You can also pay in person at March Crown.

Autocrat: Brocc of Alderden (contact info omitted).

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: We currently have the infrastructure for up to 1200 attendees. If more than 800 people preregister then we will be able to make adjustments. However, if less than 800 people preregister, the 1200 person limit WILL BE FIRM. We cannot have a situ­ation where we have toilets for 1200 people and 2000 people at the event. So PLEASE preregister. We do not want a situation where we have to turn people away at the gate.

This is a VERY remote site. You are 30-40 miles from the nearest facilities, grocery stores, hardware stores, hotels, and GASOLINE. So please do not leave Tres Pinos or King City without planning accordingly, as it is a LONG walk.

There WILL be showers, portable toilets and hand wash stations on site. Water will be available from a water buffalo and a truck will be driven around daily from which people will be able to refill their water supplies.

There is no WIFI on site. There is minimal and sporadic coverage at best for Verizon and no other carrier as far as we can tell for cell phones. Electricity will also be VERY limited. If you need special accommodations, including recharging CPAP machines, please let us know in advance so we can try and accommodate you. Generators will be allowed in camps between 9:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. provided the noise and smell do not disturb your neighbors. We will be attempting to organize daily runs into town for groceries if there is the demand for it. Please be prepared to pay with exact change when you place your order. More information about this will be available on site.

Thank you, Beltane 2016 staff.

Hans von Wolfholz

Per bend sinister purpure and
sable, a rose slipped and
leaved bendwise within a bordure
indented argent.
      Ivone Pons Leyr

Azure, a unicorn's head couped
to sinister argent, in canton
a decrescent Or.
Arms by Khevron Oktavii Tikhikovich Vorotnikov

  Various photos, mostly first weekend
  Queen's Roses Tea
  Oldtimer's QA Session (See below for video)
  Video of Jon de Cles Blessing of Queen of Love and Beauty Tournament (May 1)
  Oldtimers QA Session (May 7)
  Video of Children from Page School singing "To the West" (May 8)

Sunday, May 1:
One of my goals is to try to get photos of all the "oldtimers" -- people who are attending Beltane who were instrumental in the early days of the SCA. Obviously some can't be with us.

So, my wife, Aldith, Kingdom Exchequer, was helping out at gate yesterday, when who appears, but Douglas Longshanks and Lorna of Leeds. My wife was in the SCA in her teens when Douglas and Lorna were King and Queen. She just about plotzed. That's pretty fun on its own. (For those not in the know, Lorna is the queen who created the Queen's Cypher -- "In the reign of Douglas, Lorna his Queen ..."). I am hoping they will be around next weekend.

During Coronation on Saturday, King Hans called forward seven members of the Order of Chivalry to represent seven virtues, as he felt each of them, while all chivalric, were embodiments of one of them:
  1. Mathias von Leuwenberg - Valor
  2. Geoffrey Mathias - Chivalry
  3. Robert of Woodsende - Humility
  4. Marc de Arundel - Franchise
  5. Conall Eoin MacTavish - Faith
  6. Frederick of Holland - Courtesy
  7. Fearghus mac Airt - Generosity
His Majesty called up Cathyn Fitzgerald separately as an example of "Learning", as he has lived in several Kingdoms, and is willing to share his knowledge of Interkingdom Anthropology.

The idea of this is that people may goto these worthies to ask questions about the specific virtue. (Wanted to document this somewhere ...)

For me the fun one was sitting in the Bellatrix encampment with Brion of Bellatrix and Christopher of Hoghton. We're telling old stories and having a good time, and up walks an older gentleman in black with a red sash. We didn't know immediately who this was, but he was obviously looking for something. Brion, being the helpful guy that he is, asked "Can we help you?" The gentleman said something along the lines of "I am looking for my wife's pavilion, I have never seen it set up." So we asked who is wife was. He responded with "Diana Listmaker." All three of us jumped to our feet and said almost in unison, "You must be Jon de Cles!" and shook his hand, and ... Maybe you had to be there, but to meet a person who had so much impact on the SCA in person in complete surprise was really cool to me.

I was wandering around in the Royal Pavilion before the Tournament today (the Queen of Love and Beauty tourney), and an older lady, a Laurel (wearing a Laurel medallion) asked if I were John. I was taken aback, but was intrigued, and we chatted a bit. She had not seen Jon Fitz-Rolf (aka Jon the Lean) for years, and so when she told me she was hoping to see him, I kind of laughed a little and said that he was taller and a lot thinner than I was (he is called "the Lean" for a reason). Sadly Jon wasn't around that I know of. But we struck up conversation and it turned out to be Janet Breakstone! (Go back and read your history ...)

While I was chatting with Janet, Duchess Verena of Laurelin walked up and got a big "YOUR GRACE!" and hug from me (I knew her before she and James moved to An Tir ...). She was truly surprised by all the positive response she was getting from folk. I really don't think she understands how much people loved her ... (and still do).

The invocation of the lists was the usual, the members of the Order of Chivalry who introduced themselves included Agro Agwesi, from Lochac, and a couple of other gentlemen from out of Kingdom (one from the East, another from Artemisia, I think). Veniamin was fighting (I got a huge hug yesterday), for those who remember him (Count Veniamin).

I didn't stay and watch the tournament, but instead went around and chatted with folk, and eventually we left the site. I found out (thanks to Linda who posted on one of my earlier messages that Roger of Stockton won the tournament and named his lady Zanobia Fiorentini as Queen of Love and Beauty). As Kingdom Historian, I was feeling like I had a pretty good day. --Hirsch von Henford

Second Weekend:
My wife and I weren't able to be there during the week, as she had to work. However, I am pleased to hear the success of the Thursday night video showing of movies taken in the early days of the Kingdom. Henrik of Havn and a couple of other old-timers were adding commentary as these were silent films. Thanks to Joel the Brewer for working with Henrik on obtaining the films and converting to digital. I have been promised copies for this site ... [possibly with commentary added] (yay!)

Saturday was a bit rainy, but not too bad. More drizzle a few minutes, then stop ... a bit later more drizzle and stop.

The highlight of the day for me (besides just going around and visiting with people, some whom I hadn't seen in a long time) was the old-timers gathering held at the camp being run by Patrice di Coeur Fidel and Geraldine of Toad Hall. We were lucky at this event to have 20 or more old-timers -- people who were involved in the first 10 years of the SCA and the West Kingdom's history. I will list them all once I have the photos that were taken, and can get names and faces back together. I knew approximately half of them from personal interactions in the past (and some have been active participants in the SCA over the years), and I was glad to put names and faces together for the others.

I was asked by Brocc of Alderden (who was one of the event autocrats) if I would moderate this. I was pleased although I had never really done that before. I was going to be there anyway, it being a major historical thing ... the odds are good we'll never get all of these people in the same place again.

An hour and a half (the time alotted) was not enough, I could have sat there for hours talking to folk, asking questions (or having others ask them) and listening to the responses and discussions. Most or all of the questions that were asked are on this site already (see the AHP, see the event descriptions, etc.), but it was wonderful to hear it in person from the people who were there.

Achilles of Sparta took video (with the help of Brocc) on his phone, and his lady Esmeralda of the Lakes, as well as Ghislaine d'Auxerre took photos of everyone, and I am looking forward to seeing those posted soon. It was a delightful time for me, talking to people whose names are legends, who are gods and goddesses of the SCA.

I missed Saturday evening court because it was right after this was scheduled to occur, and I was still talking with folk (Robear du Bois, I think Douglas Longshanks -- have to look at the pictures, Mary Tamar of Glastonbury, Wilhelm von Schlüssel ...).

The rest of the event is sort of a blur after that. I had lots of great talks with people.

We hotelled it again, so had to leave sometime after court was over.

The next day the rain was gone, so people were able to pack down dry. Before Sunday court happened Marguerite du Royon brought out the "Bannerama" project -- she is re-doing the West Kingdom War Banner (the previous one is 5 years old and starting to show wear). She had people helping her work on it all week, and it was nearly complete. I got drafted (it's hard to say "No" to Marguerite, her energy is quite infectious!) to help hold part of the banner up for display at court. (And you don't really realize while it's flying just how big it is -- in the frames it was close to 8 feet tall, and I'm not sure how long ...) That was pretty cool ...

Everyone is telling tales of favorite bits of the event on Facebook, I hope some of them will end up here (I have requested that people send them). It was a grand time! -- Hirsch von Henford

An email from Lorna of Leeds, (May 12, 2016) with the subject line: The Best Compliment of My Life

I was walking down the road when a young lady was about to cross paths with me. I pointed my finger at her and stated "You are a Bellatrix," she stopped in her tracks and admitted that she was. We walked on together chatting. She told me that I reminded her so much of her grandmother, Duchess Carol of Bellatrix. I can't do better than that.

I met Carol when she was pregnant with Brion. We did everything together. We had hysterectomies together. How close can you get? When Paul and Carol split, I fell apart. It took Doug some convincing that just because Carol and I did everything together did not mean that he and Paul did. When I am at a crossroad I often ask myself how would Carol deal with this? I hope she likes my choices.

Duchess Lorna of Leeds

Lorna told me that I could edit the above in case it might offend someone's sensibilities, but really, I don't see anything there that might, and so except for a couple spelling errors, I left it as is. -- Hirsch

To add your own reminisces to this, please send an email to the Kingdom Historian -- click this link: Golden Beltane Stories

Description of this event (if any), taken from The Page, or from memory of at least one person who attended the event.

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The West Kingdom History Website was created by and is maintained by Hirsch von Henford (mka Ken Mayer).