This year we've kind of skipped out on quite a lot of events because of being unsure about which events were going to be fun and played it safe with Eagle Island and Museum Comes to Life. Both are really fun and probably the largest events in the area; I've heard a lot of reenactors complain about reenactments being too big, but in our case we have problems with driving public traffic and also attendance from other reenactors.
My family is part of a relatively large English Country dance group; that is how we've been invited to several balls. The dance group is completely independant of the Civil War group, but ocassionally the two collide in awesomeness! The lady who usually brings the two together was married the week before, so I took it upon myself to coordinate a dancing group.
Museum Comes to Life was....interesting this year. There was the Civil War group, the SCA group (always a hoot); there were a couple other groups represented in really small numbers, but I was surprised by how much smaller this event has become. There were a lot of vendors and other demonstrations that had no historical significance whatsoever, like rope jumping and country singers. So the entire event is kind of mixed in historical quality, so it isn't really a reenactment, but still really fun!
There were a couple of glitches in the plans. A) Parking at this particular park is terrible, B) There was a race going on and the end was at that very park, which messed with parking even more, C) The sound system that we had planned on using couldn't be carried in because the owner had to park so far away there was no way he could carry it in, and D) A lot of the girls who signed up to dance were so tiny that we knew weeks in advance that everything would be at least 5 sizes too big, but we still struggled to find clothing for everyone.
In the end, it worked out okay because the race drove a lot of traffic into the park that was unexpected. The dance instructor, who wasn't planning on going, gave me a small sound box that actually could be turned up fairly loud. It was really easy to use, so I was thankful for that, although a couple songs were a little more quiet than anyone would prefer. The clothing wasn't the ideal situation; we had enough dresses technically, although many were certainly, "make do". Because it was all loaned, coordinating who had what was sooooo difficult.
Anyway, the dancing itself was pretty fun. The weather was beautiful, and there were a lot of people who became really interested in attending dance practices. Whoops, we hadn't planned on that! Apparently we need business cards. I also hadn't planned on parents sending in their two-year olds who had no inclination to be touched, so dancing was ocassionally stopped up by an unwilling participant. Hmm. Note to self....
It's always interesting to dance with someone who has never danced before because everyone has different ways of internalizing it. Things that I never think about, like the novelty of being twirled or even just holding hands. I forget that holding hands is weird to most people. One girl who I briefly danced with told me very seriously, "My brother doesn't like to dance because he doesn't like to be in love".
For the first time in basically ever I had no wardrobe breakdowns; at this event exactly one year ago I stepped on my dress while dancing and tore a HUGE hole in it. I didn't step on my dress once, but a couple other people who will remain unnamed did. It was my first time dancing in a corset, and it was actually not as big a deal as I thought it would be. Actually, the dropped armscye was more pesky to dance in because it's hard to raise your arms up. It was also my first time wearing this particular corset to an event, and it was so much more comfortable than the last one! I loved it, but again I didn't feel hungry until I got home. I ate breakfast at around 7:30 and I didn't eat again until I got home at 4:30 and took it off. Instantly my stomach realized it was empty and man I was HANGRY!
One of the most unintended surprises was a man who wanted to take a virtual reality video of us dancing; I don't have the entire clip, but here is the video of the entire event. You can turn the whole thing around and watch all angles of what's going on.