Landsknecht Reenactment Group

$876 of $7,500 goal

Raised by 15 people in 30 months

Let me start with myself. I'm Mike Degner, and I'm from Central Jersey. A lot of you may know me from various Renaissance Faires here in the northeast. My fiancee, Alicia McAteer, and I are co-founders and owners of an educational reenactment group that goes by the name of “The Guild Of Saint Longinus ”, based at the New York Renaissance Festival . We portray a Fähnlein (company) of German mercenaries called Landsknecht , and their Tross (Campfollowers and wives). We hail from Swabia, a German speaking country in the Holy Roman Empire, in the year of our Lord 1528. (Or, various parts of NJ & PA, in the year 2016...)

We strive to educate patrons at the Ren Faire what life was really like in 16th Century Europe. We go about our day, performing tasks that would have been normal for an army of mercenaries on the march. We make and mend our own clothing by hand. We cook our meals over an open fire, based on actual recipes from the Middle Ages & Renaissance. We play dice, card and board games that the soldiers and their families would have played to pass the time. We march in parades around the Faire in formation, carrying either Pike (a 12-18 foot spear), Halberd (a long handled axe), or Greatsword. We train in various armed and unarmed combat styles based on the ACTUAL Martial Arts of Germany , as depicted in recently discovered manuscripts and treatises dating from the 14th up through the 16th century. And, most importantly, we explain everything we are doing to YOU, our patrons! We show you the hows and the whys, and even let you join in and get your hands dirty at times.

Being a part of a group like this has been a dream of mine for over two decades, since I started working and attending Ren Faires. Unfortunately, no Faires in my area had anything like it, and the SCA wasn't quite what I was looking for. Then, in 2014, a Viking encampment was started by a friend at NYRF. (Definitely worth a visit if you go to NYRF!) He mentioned that the owners of Faire were also looking for a group to do a military encampment. My fiancee and I hounded management, wrote business proposals, and hounded management some more. They agreed to give us a shot.

Gulp! We've never done this before! We scoured the internet for ideas and advice. We befriended and visited other Landsknecht groups in other states. We bought, crafted and sewed everything we had in our camp, with help from some amazingly supportive friends. We dipped into our savings. I took a loan out of my 401k.

As our first season happened, we were told by patrons, Faire actors, other reenactment guilds, and the owners and management of Faire how impressive our camp was. Everyone congratulated us on how much we accomplished in our first year. Our cheeks blushed. Our hearts melted. Our egos inflated.

We want to grow. We still have all the gear from last year, which is good for how small we were. However, we are in the process of recruiting more members. Plus, we all want to learn new things that we can then teach you about. Here's a list of some of the things we would like to fund with your generous donations:

More card and board games to play with the patrons, as well as historical children's toys

More canvas tents to be walked through, to show what officers and enlisted lived like
(This includes the materials to build an authentic travelling camp bed, wooden chests, tables, washing area, and all of the other things that would be seen in an officer's camp)

More historically accurate cookware
(Replacing our modern cast iron cookware with more accurate (and more expensive) copper and ceramic pots and pans. Also, the materials to build a proper wooden cooking spit to replace our modern cast iron and stainless steel one.Lastly, a clay oven that we can actually use! )

Fabric and supplies to give hands on sewing lessons
(100% wool, linen or silk, depending on the project, linen or silk thread, plus historic thimbles to brotect fingers)

Seating and other furniture for us and our guests
(We really had a shortage of seating and table space. We'll be making benches, stools, chests, tables food prep surfaces, and other workspaces)

Improvements to our demonstration circle
(We want to cover the concrete surface with foam tiles topped with sand to make falling safer, along with lumber and other supplies for other projects and demos)

A Landsknecht Drum and Pfeife

Gardening and grounds-work
(We need to level the ground a bit more than it is for tent placement. We also want to plant different herbs, fruits and vegetables that would have been accurate to the time and location of the Landsknecht to be used in our camp cooking)

Lastly, we will be covered by two seperate insurance policies. One that covers us as a reenactment group, and one to cover us in our martial practice.

As you can see, we have a ton planned for our future. Alas, being a volunteer organization with no income makes it hard to do all this without your help. So, if you'd like to help a bunch of history nerds and European Martial Arts enthusiasts continue fulfilling their dream of putting the REAL Renaissance into the Ren Faire, every dollar helps! Please donate whatever you can, and please share this page with your friends and families.

More than a third of our projected goal is reserved for purchasing or crafting the incentives you will recieve for donating. Then there are GoFundMe's fees. Almost everything listed above is for raw materials for the seven of us to build from scratch. 

Danke Schön! We hope to see you at Faire!
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It's been a busy month since our last update! As proof I've attached some pictures of our progress. We've built a bed that is entirely slats and pegs as well as a completely revamped cooking area and a gussied up cart that will be used to keep water close to the fighting circle for the men as they run their HEMA drills. Not shown is a new rack to keep the halberds off the ground and an updated demo board.

Recently, we've spent a lot of time cleaning up the grounds, removing leaves, wacking weeds and leveling out the land. This weekend will see our new firewood awning go up and some major upgrades to the fight circle.

There's still lots to do of course. We plan on several more small projects to make the camp a more welcoming place for everyone. Then there's some new recruits to dress on top of it all! The next 6 weeks will prove exhausting but we really expect some great new things to come out of it.

Lastly, I'm sure there are a few of you waiting for you incentives! Most are packaged and ready to go but we still have a few to finish up over the weekend. It is our hope to have them all sent out next week.

Again, we thank you for your generous donations, we thank you for your kind words, and we thank you for your interest most of all. Without you, we would have no reason to do any of this. We hope to see you all in a matter of weeks to let us know how we've done.

A million thank yous,
Your Kreigsdame.
The hauptmans new bed
The new water cart
Our new cooking area
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We're two months into our fundraiser, and just over ten weeks till Faire opens! We give a hearty HUZZAH to all of our patrons so far!

I wish we had more photos to show you guys, but pictures of raw lumber are pretty boring. These next ten weeks are going to be filled to the brim with sewing, crafting, construction, and practice. We'll try to keep this page updated, but please bookmark and join our homepage (, and like our FB page ( for more pics, vids, and updates.

Thank you again, and please tell your friends about us!
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Thanks to all of our recent donors! With May right around the corner we should be getting out some e-mails to those of you that need to choose part of your incentives. Keep an eye out!
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We've hit the one month mark! At just over 10% of our goal we still have a long way to go but that's only because we have so many great things planned for you! Some of our incentives are in and others are being put together so we will let you know soon when things start getting mailed out. Some of you will have to confirm which option you choose for your incentive level so start thinking!

All of that being said, this is still far from over. We really appreciate everything so far and the projects are piling up! With the weather finally warming up we plan on getting out more and beginning the build in full force.

As always, thank you so much and please don't forget to share this with your friends! It truly means the world to us!

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$876 of $7,500 goal

Raised by 15 people in 30 months
Created March 14, 2016
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28 months ago
Scott Cosden
30 months ago

Fair on, Melanie and Eddie!

30 months ago
Lauren Russell-Pank
30 months ago

Make this happen! :)

Danny Valdes Jr.
30 months ago

To my best of friends. With all my love.

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