Postfest V, Part II: Summer Carnival
Date: Tue, August 09, 2005
Topic: Peoples & Culture
Come one! Come all! Summer Carnival beckons! And it is three events in one. A true carnival. A mercantile fair. And a grand tourney. Greatly anticipated by all classes, the Summer Carnival offers something for practically every taste.
By: Glenn Vincent Dammerung, aka GVDammerung
Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.
Date: 1st-5th Wealsun/1st-5thGoodmonth
Location: Flanaess wide
Summer Carnival is something of a misnomer. While there is a carnival atmosphere with much masking and costumery, dancing and the like, most Summer Carnivals coincide with the greatest merchant or trade fairs of the year to be held in a particular area, as well as with a grand tourney. Summer Carnival is then three events in one. It is a carnival. It is a mercantile faire. It is a tourney. For good reason then, Summer Carnival is greatly anticipated by all classes. Most significant urban centers will see but three trade fairs in a year - Summer Carnival, Richfest and Brewfest. The usual dates for Summer Carnival are a month before or after Richfest, although this can further vary by up to a month in some areas. Richfest is like a grander version of Summer Carnival but with perhaps slightly less mercantile emphasis. Brewfest is the least mercantile.
The carnival atmosphere of Summer Carnival is characterized principally by masked and costumed dances, and feasting, usually accompanied by fireworks at the end of an evening. Such fetes will more often open than close the Summer Carnival. Of course, the classes will be largely kept separate, although nobles have been known to “go slumming,” protected beneath a mask.
The greatest activity at Summer Carnival is, however, the mercantile or trade faire. Merchants, peddlers and traders of all sorts will converge on cities hosting Summer Carnivals, where they will set up shop alongside local merchants. Such trade fairs are one of the few opportunities many will have to purchase unusual goods, manufactures or luxuries not otherwise available locally. Shopkeepers will meanwhile arrange bulk purchases or sales for the year. Freemen farmers will bring in livestock, while freemen and tenant farmers will bring in produce, in the latter case usually early ripening vegetables from their cottage garden plots, fruit, berries or preserves to sell for additional income. The judging of livestock and produce is a much-anticipated annual event.
Summer Carnival is also often the site of a grand tourney. Jousting and a melee will generally be open only to noble participants, although an unknown of apparently sufficient quality may be able to enter, either being sponsored by a local noble or by accepting designation as a “black knight,” who may yet have to prove his quality on the field in a preliminary of some sort before being properly admitted to the lists. Tourneys are sponsored by the host of the Summer Carnival and provide an excuse for the nobility to attend a predominantly mercantile affair that might otherwise be seen as “beneath” their station. Archery competitions will be open to all. The conclusion of the grand tourney will usually close the Summer Carnival.