How did your holiday season go? I hope you enjoyed your time as much as I did! In a month with no less than eight parties and celebrations, the Jane Austen birthday party thrown by the Eastern Pennsylvania JASNA society was one of the best. I thought you might like seeing the pictures and hearing about the fun we had.
What is JASNA, you ask? It’s the Jane Austen Society of North America, founded in 1979 by fans who simply can’t get enough of Jane Austen! The society publishes regular bulletins and newsletters on Austen-related matters. They lead trips to England to see where Jane lived, and they have an annual general meeting to celebrate all things Jane. But their best feature may be the numerous regional groups, which gather regularly for fun activities centered around our favorite writer. It’s a terrific place to meet fellow Jane Austen fans!
Our meeting started off with a time to sample the foods brought in by all the members and the freedom to chat and catch up with people we hadn’t seen since the last meeting.
Then we got down to the real fun: the games. How would you do in these three challenges?
First we played “Jane or Plain?” In this contest we all had small signs that said “Jane” on one side and “Plain” on the other. When the leader called out a name, we had to hold up our sign to indicate if we thought the name was something or someone found in a Jane Austen novel or not. “Pemberley” was obvious; something like “Captain Campbell” not so much. The winners kept going while the losers had to put down their cards. The wheat was quickly sorted from the chaff in this deceivingly simple test! The last one holding up a card received a lovely prize. The rest of us realized how much we still have to learn! 🙁
Our second game was like Taboo, but with an Austen twist: each group had a reader giving out clues to get their teammates to say a particular name or item from something related to Jane Austen. Time was of the essence since each round lasted only a minute. How does one get one’s teammates to say the word baseball without using the word ball? (Bonus: which Jane Austen novel has the word baseball in it?)
The third game was absolutely the best. Sanditon was Austen’s unfinished novel, and we had to write the ending for it. In one minute. With one sentence! You’ve never read Sanditon, you say? Neither had most of us! Instead our host read out a brief summary of the novel as far as Austen wrote it, and then the ending was up to us! We read all the submissions aloud and voted on the winner.
As I recall, the winning entry said something about a tsunami coming along and taking Sanditon and everything in it out to sea. 🙂 It may not have been something Jane would have written, but I think she would have been highly amused!
The afternoon ended with a toast to our favorite lady. A great time was had by all!
The next annual general meeting of JASNA will be in Williamsburg, Virginia next October. The theme is Northanger Abbey. I plan on being there and I hope to see many of you as well!
Please leave a note below and tell me about your local JASNA meetings. What you would most like to see at a JASNA event?