A First-timer's Guide to Land Grab
Being your groups land agent (a.k.a. land baron, slumlord) can be a good thing. I have been doing it for going on five years now and I enjoy it. Sure it has some hassles but not all that many and there are ways that some of them can be cut down or even eliminated. I will take you through the way I, and our group, do things and you can go from there.
The important thing for us is early in the year we get an idea of how many will be attending War and have them pre-register for land as soon as possible. Even if someone is riding the fence and unsure if they will be able to make it, it is better to pre-reg than not to. That way you are ensured a space and if it turns out you cannot attend, you can always get a refund. With that number in mind, I now have an idea of how many will be there and can register the group for land. Then you wait to hear back from the Pennsic Land'O'Crat to tell you where you are going to be located at. Along with that info you are generally given a listing of the other groups, and their land agents, that will be on your block. I recommend getting in touch with these people as early as possible and introduce yourself and describe your land needs (if any special needs are required) and amount of people. Generally, if you have a cooperative group of agents, you can get much of the land breakdown taken care of even before land grab arrives. That is especially true if your group has camped on that block before but if you are new to it, it can work out just the same. Most people are willing to work with you on getting land.
Then the day of land grab gets here. Now going on what is usually done, I will describe the basics of the process. Early Saturday morning, all land agents are to report to the barn. Once there it helps to locate the others on your block. Some make up signs, others make arrangements beforehand. Whichever works for you, do your best to hook up with the others. It is not necessary but helpful. The Land'O'Crat and his assistants will give a speech about what is going to be happening and then you are free to go to your block. Some things you may wish to have are your land packet (which should be mailed to you ahead of time), a measuring tape (a long one), a pen, some colored cloth or similar to mark boundaries (some use chalk as well), and a map of the block. Sometimes the Land'O'Crat will supply them, and you can also find them online to print out but I think they may be in the land packet you will get in the mail. When you get there, you and the other agents will begin dissecting the land to suit everyones needs. It does involve some give and take sometimes so don't worry if you get a little less than anticipated. More often there will be groups there that have been there for years and land blocks generally go by seniority. Don't worry about that either, as I said before, most agents are willing to work with you. Do your best to get what you need for your group and when everyone is satisfied, you will mark off the boundaries on a map. Make the markings as accurate as possible and then everyone will sign it. In years past, every agent had to have their own map but I do not know if they will be doing that again. Once the map is signed, then you all head back to the barn.
At the barn, you will all wait in line to get your map approved. It may take some time so just wait your turn and eventually you will get to the front. If all is alright, your map will approved. You will then get a piece of paper with your groups name on it that is to be put outside you camp in clear view, usually in a clear plastic sleeve of some sort to protect it from the weather. Also you will be given vehicle passes for you and those in your group with you so that you may then drive onto the site. Once that is all done, you go get your vehicle, distribute the passes if necessary, and head down to your block to unload and begin setting up. It is a pretty simple process but the overall factor that I must stress is to be patient. Things will get taken care of in time, don't try to rush through it. If you feel you are being cheated on land badly, or one or some of the agents are trying to bully you into taking less or are just being unreasonable, try to work it out the best you can. If that does not work, find an official Land agent (they go around through the site to handle problems and such). If one is not out and about, then you will have to go to the barn. Either way, find someone in charge and tell them of the problems. Keep in mind they are dealing with a lot of people and some of them will have issues so once again, be patient. They will be able to take care of the problem one way or another. Most likely though, things should go semi smoothly. The whole process can take as little as fifteen minutes and as long as several hours. It all depends on how well your block works together and if any unforseen problems arise. But remember this, as land agent, the one responsible for getting the group it's land, you have first choice of camping space. That, in itself, makes the day worth it. Good luck and if you have any questions, feel free to email me.
Bosk of Teaghlach
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