By Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton
The comparison that this year's Pennsic Mayor, Viscount Sir Edward Zifran of Gendy, has made that running Pennsic is like running Tammany Hall in the early days of New York is apt.
When you run a staff of 152, including seven divisions whose heads share about 120 years of Pennsic experience and 54 departments, with a budget of $214,000-not to mention 352 porta-potties (cleaned twice daily) — you have to have the political skills of a machine boss — if perhaps not the thuggery to back it up.
The thugs have been replaced by the Dead Rabbits, the "hiring hall" for Pennsic, which will be used as a volunteer clearinghouse, as well as a way to provide those who seriously breach Pennsic rules — but not enough to get sent home — a way to provide "community service." Other new features this year: a bigger battlefield (600x600 feet, or approximately 200 metres square), new modular, easy-to-store daises, a new pager system, and more A&S tents. Approximately 10,500 pre-registered for Pennsic this year.
The A&S tents are also the focus of a significant policy change. Private parties are no longer allowed to book the tents, because of increasing liability concerns over alcohol and cleanup issues. Meetings, vigils, performances, and other "official" business will still take place in the tents, however.
Another new rule (#25 in your Pennsic book) forbids posting notices or announcements in the porta-potties. These have become a cleaning issue for the companies we rent them from because of sticky residue, etc., and we were being charged to clean them after Pennsic. Rule #26, also new this year, prohibits tampering with, moving, destroying, or vandalizing any Cooper's Lake property, such as signs, the Barn, golf carts, Zoning and Planning markers, etc.
Many have asked whether the haywagons will be running again this year, after last year's mudbath. According to Viscount Edward, buses have replaced the haywagons for the route around the lake, and a haywagon will run up to the archery field.