Arfstoll Thjod's Sumarmál celebration at beautiful Camp Netimus, PA*. It was a blast!
The camp itself was terrific as always; the staff were eager to do anything they could to make our event a success, and the food was terrific.
This event was Theodish, and members of no less than three different Theods were in attendance, as well as many guests and newcomers.
There were four rituals along the course of the weekend. Friday kicked everything off with an offering of cakes and ale to the local land wights in thanks for their hospitality. Friday night, Álfröðull theod put on a Freyja ritual, wherein the Goddess was invoked, offerings were made, and blessings bestowed on the assembled folk.
Saturday saw the kids doing a traditional May Pole dance (with live music, including some completely mediocre drumming by yours truly), and then the presentation of the final ritual drama in our cycle; the Return of Odin, which sees the restoration of Odin as king of the Gods, the death of the winter-king Ullr, and the avenging of Baldr's death as Bui slays Hoder, and is in turn slain. It was a blast, especially considering we had no rehearsals and the cast saw the script about 10 minutes before the play. There followed a very powerful Sigrblót, where weapons and other items of appropriate nature were sacrificed in the fire in exchange for victory and success in the coming year. Finally, we had sumbl, which was unique in that it lasted for three hours, but only felt like one. Nobody was "forced" to take the horn for three rounds, making the toasts that were made all the more significant, and the folks in attendance seemed to appreciate that fact.
In and amongst the rituals, there were many other activities, including classes and discussions, an archery competition, and kid's activities. Whew!
This was an exceedingly non-aggravating weekend, it felt. No drama, no petty whispering behind other folks' backs, no bad injuries, no excessive late starts to anything (the only real late-starting event was sumbl, but even then it was over on time, and folks didn't feel rushed). The kids were a dream, usually taking care of one another (and even the older kids taking turns often with keeping track of the smaller ones), and everybody seemed genuinely glad to see everyone else.
We'll be doing this again next year (same weekend; April 29-May 1, 2011), and I hope we'll see even more friends then.
* If any pagan group in the New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania area is looking for a place to hold an event, this is the place to look. I'd be happy to put you in touch with them, or answer any questions about how they handled our group and our event. Just ask.