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An SCA feast is a medieval banquet of fine food, good drink, merry entertainment and pleasant company. One might call it a celebration of food and fellowship. As you attend more events you will find that many have both a light lunch, called a "dayboard", that is often included in the price of the event AND, for an additional fee, a feast served in the evening.

Normally designed to replicate a large "Medieval" meal served family style (shared by all at each table), feasts are an excellent opportunity to sample a large number of unusual dishes because a lot of effort is normally made to present authentic cuisine in a series of courses. This can vary from a simple feast with two or three courses to a grand feast with seven or even more.

Please be aware that in most cases, not everyone who attends an event will be able to join in the feast. There is usually a limit on the number of people who can attend the feast and doing so adds an additional cost above and beyond the normal event fee. If you wish to partake of the feast at an event you are attending, make sure you preregister and reserve a spot early.

We offer the following information to help you get the most enjoyment out of the first feast you attend.

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What You Should Expect
How a feast is set up will differ from event to event and is often dictated by the location the event is held at. Generally speaking, feasts will take place in a hall with tables set up around a central entertainment area. There is a head table, behind which any Royalty present and the hosts have their seats. Tables for the populace are usually set upon both sides of the hall. These tables may be in long rows, or there may be round tables, each seating several guests. Many groups choose to decorate the hall with hanging banners showing the heraldry/devices of the hosting group(s) and sometimes those of the guests as well.

Those attending the feast are expected to bring their own 'feastgear' (cup, plate, bowl and eating utensils) and most will also bring tablecloths, napkins, and candles to help set the mood. Because we try to recreate the look and feel of a medieval hall, the items in your place setting should be those that were in use in Medieval times. You will also want to bring a plastic bag to put your dirty dishes in because there may not be facilities available for washing your gear after the feast.

Depending on the style of feast, either the staff will serve you, they will ask volunteers to fetch platters from the kitchen, or you may gather food from a buffet. This is a great time to try a variety of foods you may have never heard of. Of course, you do not have to worry about not liking something because you do not have to try everything that is presented. Not all medieval foods suit everyone's palate. If you have food allergies or are concerned about ingredients, be sure to ask the event staff that prepared the feast about the recipes.

Most Feasts are somewhat structured with the head table being seated first. Once the serving begins, each course will be announced and offered to Royalty or Hosts first, then to any member of the Peerage present. Once the Head Table has been served, the food will be made available to the remaining tables, with information being given about what you will be eating.

Once the meal has begun and everyone has been served, you can expect that toasts will be made to the visiting Royalty and the Hosting Group by individuals at the head table. Once these formal toasts are finished, others may offer informal toasts throughout the meal.

Bread and fruit will often be on the table for you to eat while waiting for the first course and some form of non-alcoholic beverage will be provided. The meal itself may surprise and should delight because the name of each course will often give little if any indication of the contents. The first course will often consist of appetizers, and subsequent courses will consist of various meats and vegetables with the final course offering some form of sweets.

If the event is advertised as "wet" or "damp," you may bring some wine or beer to drink and / or share. Other guests will often offer to share home made alcoholic beverages as well. Just always be aware that all state and federal laws governing the consumption of alcohol are still in effect and must be obeyed.

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Feast Manners and Etiquette
While a case can be made that what we consider proper table manners were only invented two hundred years ago, you should still make an attempt at being reasonably well mannered when attending a feast. Throwing food or being ill-mannered is not period and not appreciated. Remember, even if you are eating with your hands, tou can still be graceful and refined.

Make sure to introduce yourself to those you sit next to at the feast, and let them know it is your first event. You should make a reasonable attempt to participate in conversations at your table because a good part of the pleasure offered by a feast is due to the comradery shared at table. Do not be a bore.

Finally, always treat servers with courtesy. They have volunteered to work during the feast so that others may enjoy themselves; do not let your behavior make their job harder than it has to be. When the feast is over, the kitchen staff may ask for help cleaning dishes or clearing tables. You are always welcome to help out, but are not required to do so. You should however take care of your own gear and help tidy up the table you were seated at.