So Lucy and Molly and I went up to Locust Grove this last weekend and saw the event they called '18th Century THUNDER'. It basically amounted to a large encampment of troops... an event somewhat smaller than their Trade Fair in October.
It was quite an experience to goto an event like this as a tourist... I never just get to look and see what the public sees and do what the average person off the street does.
First of all, I finally got to take the tour of the house itself, which was great! It was MUCH larger on the inside than it looked from the outside... three floors. My girls were very interested too, I like to think that the knowledge and interest they showed stems from their participation in reenacting with me. They asked smart questions and made some great observations for two little girls aged 11 & 8.
Of course, I couldn't help but ask some of my 'favorite' questions of the reenactors present before I would introduce myself to them.
"Is that real fire?"
"Aren't you hot in those costumes?"
"Are you really gonna eat that?"
One reenactor was so disgusted by my questions she literally rolled her eyes at me...
In other parts of the camp I REALLY started to see the FARBY stuff (AKA: Non Period Stuff or NPS). And it wasn't the typical NPS that you see in a camp, the stuff that's covered by blankets so the public can't see it, you know, coolers, modern cots or plastic grocery bag with snack food... etc.
I walked into one tent (invited by the fellows inside of course) and took a look at a small folding table that they had set up with some items to view, everything very artfully arranged for the public like a little museum display. Right there on top of this very carefully laid out display was a plastic Ziploc bag and a stack of photographs, obviously taken at various events.
Then at another spot, I saw that one fellow was eating out of a plastic Cool Whip container... and of course I also noticed ALL the modern glasses, modern shoes and so forth.
Now, if it sounds like I'm dogging the event... forgive me, that's not my intention at all. We had alot of fun!
I mention these things because they have caused me to stop and consider my OWN interpretation with greater scrutiny, and a more critical eye.
My opinion on the whole matter is this: you spend all this money to get the outfit, gear, guns, tent etc... in many cases by the time you've spent all this money, you're out several thousand dollars... why would you negate all that effort and research and money spent by having FARB laying out for everyone to see?
I mean an accidental glimpse is one thing... but having it laying right out in the open? I'm guilty of having modern-ish or incorrect stuff laying out when the public comes by, but I'm also VERY careful to cover it up as quickly as I can if they stop to talk to me.
I will be spending some time this week in thought about what things I carry with me that detract from MY interpretation. I want people to leave an event and remember the things I said and taught them, not to be distracted by the 21st century stuff that was seen laying around my camp.