What is Estrella War?
For nearly thirty years now members of the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc. (SCA, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to recreating the Middle Ages) and friends have gathered once a year in the sun-kissed lands of the Kingdom of Atenveldt (Arizona). Estrella War is one of the oldest and largest events held in the SCA. It’s purpose: to embark in the fun and frivolity of a week of medieval style camping, pageantry, combat & weaponry skills, arts & sciences including classes & demonstrations… and of course gather in the camaraderie of friends old and new who share in the diverse interests of middle ages life.
Is this like the Renaissance Festival?
It’s better! Unlike a Renaissance Festival, where performers are paid to entertain attendees, the SCA is a re-enactment group where the people attending participate to learn and have fun (no one is paid to attend the event)! Attendees at Estrella War should dress in the clothing and armor of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, and have the opportunity to take part in activities that feature middle ages style tournaments, arts exhibits, classes, workshops, dancing, feasts, and more. This provides seven days of middle ages activities for individual attendees, as well as a wonderful opportunity for other educational organizations, schools, and home school groups to learn about life, activities, and arts in the Middle Ages.
Do I have to be a member of the SCA to attend Estrella War?
No! People with an SCA membership pay a discounted entrance fee, but you do not have to be a member of the SCA to attend Estrella War. However, if you intend to stay and camp at the event (be there for more than a visit for the day), you should come prepared to be a participant in an historical re-creationist event. It is preferred that make your best effort at wearing middle ages style clothing (not modern clothing) during the time you are at the event. If this is your first time attending, talk to your local group before attending Estrella War about receiving loaner garb for the event.
If you plan to attend with children or pets, please review the special requirements for bringing them to Estrella War.
What should I know before I attend Estrella War?
There are many things to consider when attending Estrella War. Whether you camp for the full week of the event, or stay at a nearby hotel, you should carefully plan for lots of walking (the site is very big), for sudden changes in weather, and remember to pack the important comforts of home you need to have an enjoyable time in the Current Middle ages. We recommend reviewing the rest of the Preparing to Attend section of the website.
Where is the event, and do I have to drive or can I fly there?
The Estrella War site (Schnepf Farms, 24810 South Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek, Arizona 85242) is located in the town of Queen Creek, AZ, on the southeast edge of the Phoenix metropolitan area.
You can drive or fly in, depending on where you live. Check our our Travel section for more information.
What is Pre-Registration, and do I have to Pre-Register to attend?
“Pre-registration” is used to mail or pay your fees online before the event, and has a number of benefits, including lower entrance fees than the General Admission you would pay when you arrive at the site, and the option to purchase Reserved and Dry RV Parking (see Pre-Registration to review all the benefits). Pre-registration is not required to attend Estrella War. Registration has information on paying a General Admission entrance fee when you arrive at the event.
Once I pay my entrance fee may I leave Estrella War and get back in?
Yes, you will be given a site token (proof of payment of your entrance fee) which should be worn at all times while attending Estrella War, and a car tag that authorize your re-entry if you leave the event grounds (both a site token and a car tag are needed to get back into the event, so be sure you take both with you when you leave). Please see the Site Rules for more information.
Any day is a great day to attend Estrella War, and the more days you can attend, the better! If you are only able to attend for part of the event, choose the days you’ll be there based on when the activities you most enjoy are happening. If you have questions about specific activities and you don’t find the information you need in a schedule, contact the War Staff who is responsible for coordinating that activity and ask for more information.
Is camping available at Estrella War, and what services are available?
Yes, your entrance fee includes access to camping areas and a number of services provided by the SCA and the property owner at the event site. Most people who attend Estrella War camp at the event for some or all or part of the event. Limited dry RV camping is also available, and there are hotels nearby. For more information, see the camping and local lodging information on this website.
Where can I camp, and who do I camp with?
Are you completely new to the SCA, and think you want to attend the event and camp? Remember everyone at Estrella War was a new person in the SCA at one time, so they all understand how overwhelming it can seem to go to a big middle ages style event and camp for the first time. See What do I need to bring to Estrella War?
If you then decide to camp, your next step should be to find the your local SCA group closest to where you live. Contact them first to see if they have members attending the war, and ask whether you can arrange for camping space with them. Be sure to contact them well in advance of the event, so you can coordinate arrangements. If no one in your local group is planning to attend, most groups will know someone who is attending, and are usually willing to help you connect with them. When none of those options work, you can contact the officers listed as “Gold Key”, “Chatelaine” or “Seneschal” for your local group, or for the SCA Kingdom where you live, and ask for help.
How do people know where they can camp?
Since each SCA Kingdom determines how their assigned camping area is used, the best way to determine where you camp at Estrella War is to work through your local SCA Group. This is best done before you leave home, by contacting the Ruling Nobility or Seneschal of the SCA group closest to you and asking if you can have a camping space reserved to camp with them. As an alternative, you can also contact your Kingdom’s Estrella War Land Coordinator.
Individual Kingdom Land Coordinators are responsible for administering the use and division of their Kingdom’s camping area for their Kingdom’s populace. If you have a question about your Kingdom’s camping area, or wish to reserve land for your encampment, please contact the Land Coordinator for your Kingdom.
What on-site services are available at Estrella War?
Your entrance fee to the Estrella War includes the use of shower trucks, porta-potties (sorry, no flush toilets!), an on-site store and a number of other on-site services. We also provide a list of nearby businesses and medical facilities.
What do I need to bring to Estrella War?
How will you get to the event? What plans do you have for meals? How long do you plan to stay? A good place to start is here. Remember to consider the weather you may encounter in the winter Arizona desert, and the paperwork and identification you must bring for yourself AND for minors and pets attending the event with you.
Is Estrella War handicap accessible?
Yes and no. The Estrella War site (Schnepf Farms, 24810 South Rittenhouse Road, Queen Creek, Arizona 85242) is a large festival site located in a rural area. While a few activities (like Grand Court and artisan functions) are held inside big pavilions, most activities are outdoors on flat grassed areas, camping is on farm land when it is not in use for festivals, and areas of the site are connected by dirt or graveled roads, wooden walk-over bridges, and dirt footpaths (there are no paved sidewalks or roads). To navigate around the site, attendees with a Handicapped Parking Pass can drive to different parts of the site and park, but the attendee must then be able to walk or use a wheelchair to move from the vehicle to where the activity is happening.
Most well trafficked areas (like Merchant’s Row) have handicapped porta-potties available, handicapped accessible showers are provided at the shower trucks, and a limited number of electrical outlets are reserved at Chirurgeon’s Point for recharging or using medical devices. In addition, a Special Needs Coordinator is available to provide golf cart transport for those with special needs (requests are handled on a first-come, first-serve, as-available basis.) Please check the Gatebook you receive when you arrive at the event for the days/hours this Special Needs service is provided, and how you can request it.
A list of nearby medical facilities and pharmacies is also included on this website for your convenience. If you wish more information about handicapped access or services, please email your questions to the Special Needs Coordinator before you arrive at the event.
What is there to do?
There are dozens of areas of middle ages activities to watch at Estrella War, and many activities you can participate in depending on your age, and experience with that activity. These range from arts demonstrations, cooking competitions, dances, and several types of middle ages style martial combat. For example, the SCA has stringent safety requirements for people who wish to participate in our middle ages-style combat activities (standards for both for the protective armor you must wear and the skill level of the participant) – so not everyone can enter a tournament. But everyone can watch the activities, and interested new fighters can always find someone to explain how a new person can get started (just ask!). Here are a few suggestions:
- Arts and Sciences
- Tours and Demonstrations
- Youth Activities
- Middle Ages Armored Combat
- Rapier Fighting
In addition to these wonderful choices, there are many SCA ceremonial events like Royal Courts and processions, and a Grand Court jointly held by the SCA Kings and Queens who are attending the event. Attending Grand Court is a wonderful way to see SCA Royalty from the 19 SCA Kingdoms located all over the Known World – all in their finest Royal attire, attended by courtiers, and displaying the heraldry and regalia that identifies their SCA Kingdom.
What do the merchants sell?
Almost anything you might need for Estrella War or any other SCA event is for sale at Estrella War, including a wonderful selection of food. Whether you need armor, costumes, accessories, books, jewelry, middle ages-styled furniture or the supplies to construct these or many other middle ages items, you can find it all on Estrella War’s Merchant’s Row where over 150 merchants operate booths each year. Many merchants accept personal checks with proper identification, and an increasing number will take major credit cards. If it’s cash only, there are ATM machines available on Merchant’s Row.
How can I be a merchant?
People from all over the world attend Estrella War each year, and that’s a wonderful sales opportunity for merchants selling middle ages themed merchandise. Merchants must pre-register with the Merchant Coordinator to participate, and are required to have core sales items consistent with the historical time period of the SCA or current SCA usage. Booth operators and their assistants are also required to dress in middle ages style clothing throughout the event. Check out our Merchants section for more information, and a complete list of the merchants who participated in Merchant’s Row at last year’s Estrella War.
As an active enlisted member of the military is there a contact phone number I may be reached at on site?
No. There are no onsite land phone lines at the site. However, most cell phone services receive good reception at the site, so it is recommended that you arrange to bring a cell phone, and a car charger so you can keep the phone charged and receive messages during the event.
What else should I know?
We have tried to anticipate all of the questions attendees at Estrella War may have about the event and provide that information on this website. But there is always something we miss. If you cannot find the answers to your questions here, please review the War Staff list and contact the person in charge of that area with your question. If you can’t determine who to send the question to, contact the Main Event Coordinators.