HEBRON — The event filling the Hebron Pines Campground this weekend is called a war, but everyone seemed pretty peaceful Saturday afternoon.
"Doesn't everybody look warlike here?" said Jamie Driggers of Gorham.
Here, she goes by the name Astrid, and she's Senechal of the Malagentia Province — basically, president of the local chapter of the Society of Creative Anachronism.
A handful of folks lounged in the shade of a tree while she talked. Others walked back from the archery range. They were all smiles, with an occasional hug thrown in. Not very warlike.
"This is our big event, but we call it a war," Driggers said. "We have archery, we have fencing, heavy armor combat, throwing weapons. We have classes, and they can learn everything from finger loop braiding to tinkering."
More than 800 costume-wearing folks came to Hebron for the Great Northeastern War this weekend, bringing tents, armor, food and family.
It's the 26th year the Society for Creative Anachronism's Southern Maine chapter has hosted the Great Northeastern War. It's a three-day event that features ranges for thrown weapons — spears and axes — and archers. People camp out, wage mock battles with bamboo weapons, sell their wares and learn about the Middle Ages.
The event lets participants step back in time to the medieval days — as knights and ladies and squires and queens. They take on new names and new roles and get a chance to escape the modern, mundane world
"It's based on your own physical abilities," said Syr Cedric Thanet, who goes by the name of James Eason of China. "At least the martial part of is. I'm not rolling dice to determine what I do. It's what I can actually do."
The Society for Creative Anachronism got its start in California in the 1960s. The Eastern Kingdom, which runs from Delaware north to Prince Edward Island, Canada, began in 1968. The kingdom is divided into 72 smaller groupings — shires, baronies, provinces and cantons.
Maine is broken into four provinces, including the Provence of Malagentia, which covers much of southern Maine.
Eason said he got his start in the society in 1983 when he went to college. He was looking for a group of people for role-playing games when he discovered the SCA.
He liked it because it's egalitarian.
"There is no gender or age separation on the field," he said. "You can find people from 18 to 80 on the field."
And from all around the East. Myleine Bergeron Francoeur of Montreal, who goes by the name Kirsa Oyutai at the event, said she and friends drove down specifically for the war. They were buying new wooden bows to lure a friend back into the society.
"We have events up there, and the people from the states come up," she said "People tend to be generous around these events. We don't care much about the money; we just care about the fun."