Norman’s Medieval Fair continues struggle to survive
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Changes are coming to the Medieval Fair.
When the 43rd annual Medieval Fair takes over Reaves Park April 5-7 it will be without the maypole stage, north food pavilion, and the number of free tents and spaces provided to educational groups will be reduced.
“We’ve had bad weather the last two years and our reserves are completely exhausted,” Medieval Fair coordinator Ann Marie Eckart said to the Norman Transcript. “As a result, we are having to tighten our belt and also look for other sources of revenue to try and get caught back up and stay ahead.”
Eckart said the self-funded Medieval Fair department, which hosts the event, is in “survival mode.”
Parking also will see a price increase from $5 to $10.
Eckart said Lloyd Noble Center has agreed to give half of the revenue generated from parking (after expenses) to the fair.
“The Lloyd Noble Center is being gracious and cooperative in working with us to get out of this bind that we are in,” Eckart said. “We are very grateful for their help.”
On a year where the weather cooperates, the fair sees between 300,000 and 355,000 visitors, she said. However, for past two years that hasn’t been the case.
“Last year, we weren’t able to open until 2 p.m. on Saturday,” Eckart said. “Our attendance was about 155,000, and we went in the hole, forcing us to dip into our reserves.”
Unfortunately, it was much of the same in 2017, with the fair only seeing about 175,000 people, she said.
“Normally, on great weather years, we are able to set aside $5,000 to $10,000 in reserves for the bad years,” Eckart said. “Because we had two bad years in a row, we have depleted all of our reserves.”
Eckart said the price of admission at other regional Renaissance fairs could be anywhere from $15 to $25, something she wants to avoid.
“I don’t see that happening for Norman’s Medieval Fair,” she said. “That’s one of the main things we want to avoid. We want to keep it free and accessible to all of the public.”
Information from: The Norman Transcript, http://www.normantranscript.com