One of the aspects of the discussion about the new alliances at Pennsic is that it's an interesting example of inter-kingdom anthropology.
For most of the folks in my immediate and extended circles, Pennsic is central to our SCA experience. Obviously, this is more true for some than others, but for the most part, it's a bug deal.
The reason is fairly obvious. I have always lived in areas that are no more than, say, 10 hours from Pennsic, and the folks I know well tend to be from the East, Aethelmearc, Ealdormere and Atlantia, all of which tend to lie within that circle or perhaps an hour more. These are the folks I know, and like me, Pennsic tends to be a yearly, or almost yearly ritual.
Obviously, the closer to Cooper's
you live, the more likely it is you'll be able to go. (Unless there are other
issues). If I think about places that are farther away, but are still
well-represented, I can think of pretty solid groups from Portland,
Maine, Boston, Montreal and Ottawa, Raleigh, NC, and
It's hard to think of places beyond those -- which are all under 12 hours from
Pennsic -- that are well-represented. Burlington, Vt.
There are a couple of others that are farther away, such as Minneapolis, 14 hours, and parts of Texas, such as Austin, 23 hours, but those tend to be smaller groups. There are always dedicated travelers from Caid and the West, as well as
As I look at those who regularly attend, I also examine why folks from farther away, say outside six or eight hours are there. Some of this applies for those within an easy drive, too. (Only for Pennsic is six to eight hours and "easy" drive).
Obviously you have the serious fighters, who really live for a week of solid tournaments and battles. You also tend to see people who are very active on the kingdom and Society levels, especially officers. Obviously, you see merchants in that mix as well. One thing I have seen is that people who are consistently involved with royal activities -- either having been on the throne or worked multiple royal households -- are often drawn in from farther away. That is certainly the case for me and my wife. Sometimes, it's a household or local group pull. "Everyone else" is going.
The farther away, the less of an impact. Certainly for the "average" Scadian outside the six- to eight-hour window, there's less chance of coming, and the farther west you get -- note that most of the places I mentioned do not involve crossing the Mississippi Rover -- the less important Pennsic becomes. True also for Drachenwald.
I find I often forget that other people's SCA experiences are not at all structured like mine, and for a vast part of the Society, Pennsic doesn't matter at all.