There is no single way to run an Arts and Sciences Faire in the Middle Kingdom, however there is a good deal of tradition to the practice and many local A&S Faires are run on the model of the Regional A&S Faires and Kingdom A&S Faire held once a year.
An A&S faire is normally presided over the appropriate Minister of Arts and Sciences for the group holding the faire or a specific individual may be selected as part of the staff for the event at which the faire is held.
Juried or judged A&S Faires may use the Kingdom A&S criteria, but are not required to. Less formal faires will simply have a pannel of judges selected by the co-ordinator to decide which of the entries is the winner for the day. Frequently smaller local faires will only have a few entries.
Judged Faires may or may not require documentation for entries.
On being a Judge at an A&S Faire
When no criteria are present, the judge's job is simpler, but not easier. Several factors must be weighed in comparing different A&S entries. It can be very difficult to judge which is more worthy between a singing performance, a bottle of cordial and an illuminated manuscript!
- Effort required (Scope)
- Documentation or Research done
- Is the entrant a novice or beginner?
One of the most popular types of A&S Competition because it is one of the simplest to run. Each entry in the competition is given a cup. Each judge (or in many cases anyone in attendance at the event) places a bean into the cup of their favorite entry. At the end of the day the faire coordinator simply counts the beans to determine a winner.
The downfall of this type of competition is that public voting tends to favor flashier entries, which may not necessarily be the most skilled, most difficult or most researched.
Other Competitive A&S Venues
A&S Competitions can have various and sundry themes or added incentives to add interest and participation.
- Competitions for a specific art, for example a siege kitchen cook-off or "Quick Quill Calligraphy Challenge"
- Team Competitions or Competitions wherein one segment of the population is pitted against another such as "Combatants vs. Non-Combatants" or Shire vs neighboring shire.
- Token or bean count are competitive displays where the populace present at the event deicde a winner by voting with 'beans' or tokesn that placed in a cup by each entry.
Non-competitive of A&S Venues
- A&S Displays are simple displays of created works. Intended to be non-competitive, but are sometimes themed.
- A Craftperson's Faire is not competitive. It is a display to feature faux medieval items that enhnace SCA life, cooler covers, easy break down chairs, etc. Most have the craftsman present during the display.
- A Laurel Prize Tourney is not competitive, but is a sort of manned display with attending laurels giving out small tokens of appreciation to the entrants. Entrants often have copies of their Documentation and research on hand for those interested. Instead it's a sort of show & tell with artisans sitting with thier display of created works and answering questions or demonstrating the art. There is no designated winner as it's a display.
- The Authentic Artifact Showcase is a display of recreations of Middle Ages/Renaissance period artifacts.