Overall, a very pleasant day. It started quite slowly ("SCA standard time" is turning pathological, I fear, and I don't like the trend), but once it really was going everyone seemed to have fun. The Baron's Bard competition was small but select: four entrants, all of whom I would have been content to see win. (There were also other performers afterwards, who weren't vying for the retinue spot, as well as a performance by I Sebastiani.)
The schedule was a bit experimental, but worked well. new_man, as head cook, wanted to do a long sideboard during the performances and the dancing, with the food concentrated towards mid-afternoon; I encouraged this, and hfcougar went for it. I like the effect: less of a rush to the food, and less disruption from it. In particular, I think it worked very well with the dancing -- instead of having everyone fill up on a heavy meal and then go home afterwards, they had a chance to digest the bulk before the dancing started, and could nip out for noshes during it. As a result, we had a really great crowd on the dance floor -- enough people to feel like we were using the space well, without being jammed in. I wouldn't want to run every event this way, but I think it proved itself to be a good option.
I was pretty busy during the day: besides running the dancing in the evening, I taught some games during the afternoon -- would up playing Ruff and Trump, Picket and Mancala with various folks. Hadn't really played Mancala before: it's definitely period, but not European, so it hasn't been much on my radar. (Mancala is to Africa as Chess is to Europe and Go is to Asia.) But it's fun, and the strategies are clearly subtler than I'd originally given them credit for. Need to play more of that. I also wound up as Acting Herald for the day, since none of the specialists were there: I've sort of fallen into the role of pinch-hit Court Herald when needed, because I find it reasonably fun and easy.
So quite a good time all around. Kudos to the autocrat, cooks, and everyone else who pulled this together...