A Day at the Races

It is racing time in Siena! The 17 Contrade are getting ready for their beloved palio races and the Barony of Ponte Alto invites everyone to join in the fun!

Since the 11th Century, the city of Siena has been holding a yearly horse race whose "official" motivation has been to give thanks to the Madonna - but any excuse is a good excuse to have a horse race! The backbone of Il Palio are Siena's 17 Contrade, which are the city wards designated to aid the many military companies hired to defend Siena's fiercely-earned independence from other nearby city states. The horses tear around the Piazza del Campo at breakneck speed, and they and their jockeys wear the colors and designs of the Contrade: Tortoise, Wave, She-Wolf, Goose, Shell, Porcupine, Dragon, Owl, Snail, Panther, Eagle, Caterpillar, Unicorn, Ram, Giraffe, Forest and Tower. So come join us and race a horse or simply join a Contrade and cheer for your favorite horseman!

The Races: We could not hold a day at the races without horses! Hobby horses that is! Bring your best steed and try your luck. Get creative! There will be a limited number of "rental" horses of various qualities available to those folk who did not bring their own mounts, courtesy of our local used horse dealer. There will be two sets of races during the day - one division for adults and one for youth - and there will be a prize for each division.

A&S Competitions: There will be a competition in artifact A&S. For questions about the A&S competition, please contact Maestra Giuliana Salviati (Jessica AT summertreemosaics.com) and visit the A&S Information page for details. The A&S competition theme is "The Symbols of the Contrade" (as listed above). There will also be a cooking competition with a theme of "Period Italian Desserts", to be judged by Baron Marcellus and Master Kevin of Thornbury. The third spot in the judging of this competition will be raffled as a fundraiser for the Barony. (Documentation is required.)

Lord Connor Sinclair and Lady Courtney de Houghton are sponsoring a "Horse and Rider Heraldry Contest". The rules are simple: 1. Best heraldry wins! (Extra points to those who feature matching or complimentary horse and rider heraldry!) 2. Neigh, documentation is not necessary. 3. Heraldry does not need to feature an animal of the contrade, it can be your own personal heraldry.

Bardic Competition: The bardic competition will also have an Italian theme. Please contact Baron Corun McAnndra (corun AT medievalist.org) and visit the Bardic Information page for details. Competitors may perform a 16th Century period Italian piece, or a piece based upon period Italian construction.

Chess Tournament: For those inclined to exercise their minds, we will be holding a chess tournament during the day.

Feast: A sumptuous Italian feast shall be prepared by Master Tirloch of Tallaght (tirloch AT ravenstreet.org). Please contact Master Tirloch with any dietary concerns.

Site: The site will be the Falls Church Presbyterian Church (http://www.fallschurchpresby.org), 225 East Broad Street, Falls Church, VA 22046. This site is DRY.

Cost: NON-SCA MEMBERS: add $3 to all prices below.
Off Board On Board
Adult $8.00 Add $7.00
Child (5-17 yrs.) $6.00 Add $7.00
Under 5 yrs. Free Free

Reservations: Barbara Reed, Email: bereed26@yahoo.com

Autocrats: Baron Marcellus Capoziello da Napoli (Robert Capozello - afpopa@cox.net) and Baronne Belphoebe de Givet (Laura Martinez - belfebe@yahoo.com),

Directions: Take your best route to the Capitol Beltway (I-495) in Northern Virginia. Exit onto Route 7 East towards Falls Church. Follow for 3.1 miles. The church is on the left, just past the intersection with Route 29, Lee Highway.