Newcomer Guide

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Some of the important things you might not know if you have not been to this Ale before, or if it’s been a few years.


Camping is free! It’s on a soccer field. Bring a tent. Bring a ground cloth. Bring ear plugs. There are portajohns on the field, as well as toilets in the nearby Music Shed. Showers for everyone’s use are in the dorms – we’ll have some minimal signage to indicate this.

Another option is to stay one of the college dorms but space is very, very, very, very, very limited from now on, due to a previous intracollege misunderstanding of what “fire code” means. Please bear this in mind when considering your attendance. We’re going to make every effort to come up with a fair and effective way to fit folks in; please stay tuned for this.


Consumables your Ale fee covers:

-snacks that aren’t dinner on Friday night

-Saturday breakfast

-Saturday lunch

-Sunday breakfast

-Sunday dinner (the Feast)

-Monday breakfast (continental)

-snacks and pub beverages (both alcoholic and non-) throughout the weekend

Consumables you are responsible for:

-anything resembling dinner on Friday

-Saturday afternoon pub stop

-Saturday dinner

-Sunday lunch/pub stop

We do the best we can to accommodate dietary restrictions (and we’ll ask about these sometime down the line); however, if you’ve got many strict and particular limitations, we suggest bringing some food. Please contact Gillian Stewart with any questions about this (


Your team:

there will be three opportunities over the course of the weekend for your team to strut your stuff. One is a fairly private affair, on Saturday morning, at Marlboro College. Another is Saturday afternoon, on Elliot St. in Brattleboro. The third is by the courthouse in Newfane on Sunday afternoon. The latter two are heavily attended – Elliot St. tends to have an audience in the round, while Newfane’s audience is primarily one-sided. Interspersed with the show dances are…

Massed Dances! See this year’s e-mail for information.



Show up! Register to get your button, wristband (for alcohol consumption; be prepared to bring your ID for registration), and room and/or job assignments if applicable, then go get situated in your accommodations. The pub will be open for beverage service starting at 7pm. There will be no dinner or object resembling dinner (that means no chili); some substantial pub snacks will come out later in the evening. Let me repeat that: THERE WILL BE NO DINNER; PLEASE EAT BEFOREHAND. There will be Opening Remarks in the 9pm range, followed by teaching of the massed dances, which will be in a forthcoming e-mail.

After that, there will be plenty of time for singing, pickup dancing, meeting new friends and spurning old ones, etc.


After breakfast, assemble for Winster processional, and process from the Dining Hall to the Music Shed. Show dancing from all teams, interspersed with massed dances. We’ll have lunch there too.

Then, teams pile into cars and drive to scenic Brattleboro, where we will split into small groups and dance at nursing homes and other spots around town. There will be a pub stop, after which we will assemble for the Winster processional and process onto Elliot St. (5pm) in downtown Brattleboro. Show dancing from all teams, interspersed with massed dances.

At this point, attendees are free to either stay in town and go out for dinner (or acquire takeout) or return to the college for potluck grilling on the field. (There will be paper plates and plastic cutlery.) The Aunt Sally Tournament will also take place at this time. 
Later in the evening, there will be a contra dance, and the pub will reopen.


After breakfast, teams will get on lovely yellow school buses for tours throughout picturesque Windham County. Following the dance/lunch/pub stands, the buses will drop attendees off near the courthouse in Newfane, where we will assemble for the Winster processional and process for our adoring audience (5pm). Show dancing from all teams, interspersed with massed dances. After this, we will return to the college for an immediate Feast (tapas-style, with some tables for sitting and some tables for standing), following which will undoubtedly be skits, singing, pubbish activities, and whatever merriment you all create.