Welcome to Pennsic War!
If you're reading this page first, I assume you are very curious about what this Pennsic War thing is all about and you may even be considering attending this year. Pennsic War is such a big and diverse place that there's no way to explain all of it on just a set of web pages. But I've made this website mostly with the newbie in mind, presenting a broad set of topics about what to expect, how to get there, and what to bring.
Pennsic War is a two week long (17 day) event lasting from the last week in July / first week in August. The first weekend is dedicated to "Land Grab" which is a chaotic period where tempers flare and campsite organizers vie for the best and largest plots of land for their group. (Some consider the fight for land to be the "true" war.) When border disputes are resolved as much as possible, camps are allowed to set up.
The week that follows (sometimes called "First Week") is a wonderful, relaxing time; it is ideal for strolling about the whole campground making new friends. Campsites pop up like mushrooms. Merchants open their doors and "power shopping" begins. Sporadic practice battles get the fighters warmed up.
The middle weekend marks the point where most activities begin to take place. Classes of all sorts are held, period dancing in the barn becomes a nightly ritual that goes until 2 AM, and war point activities begin on the following Monday.
During the "War Week" (traditionally named this because the actual war takes place the second week) Pennsic is in full swing. Population is at its peak (over 10,000 folks all dressed in colourful clothing); the merchant streets are busy from dusk to dawn with folks searching for one-of-a-kind trinkets and great deals; warriors march to and from the battlefield all day long, either in small groups or long processions (some of them led by music and song!); nighttime merriment is everywhere and everyWhen.
The third weekend is just enough time to say your goodbyes to the hundreds of people you've met during the War, and to rescue your tent from the mud and pack it away for next year.
Getting to Cooper's Lake Campground is as easy as staring at your road atlas. Find your way to I-79 near the far western edge of Pennsylvania. Head towards the Rte. 422 exit, which is about 25 miles north of Pittsburgh. Go only about 3/4 mile west on 422 and immediately turn right where you see the Cooper's Lake campground sign. It's that easy.
Note! Before you go, be sure you know what you're getting into. Pennsic War is not a spectator event, it is not like a Renaissance festival, and you should not go with the expectation that you can just visit a few friends or day-trip. When you arrive, you will have to pay the full site fee, and be in garb (period costume) all of the time.
I will not lie to you: Pennsic War is usually overwhelming to the first timer. When you arrive you might get "sensory overload" or intimidated by its immensity. After just a day or two, you'll know your way around like the veterans. And next year you too will be calling it "Home for those two Glorious Weeks in August."
After a few years you might begin to wish the other 50 weeks could be spent at Pennsic War too!
The following pages will help you to prepare for your first visit.
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