NORMAN — The annual living history fair celebrating medieval and renaissance culture through performances, artisans and games will go virtual this year, with the exception of food.
The Medieval Fair Department will host its annual event virtually April 9-11 at Reaves Park, with a to-go food event on the same weekend as the virtual Medieval Fair.
MFD made the decision in December to include the food truck event to pair with the virtual event, which will include artisans, artwork displays and musical performances.
The Medieval Fair has been an annual event for more than four decades. After last year’s fair was canceled, the department started working to plan the 2021 event.
Over that timespan, Medieval Fair Department Coordinator Ann Eckart said various forms of drawn and painted artwork, digital art and photography have been displayed.
Eckart said they plan to feature multiple vignettes at the event, which are small pieces of writing that capture a particular time period.
“We have had a little bit of everything,” Eckart said. “Some of it has had a strong Celtic flair, some of it has been strong fantasy, and some of it has been realistic. The Medieval Fair is so many things to so many people, and the artwork has been equally diverse.”
The stream of the fair will be a combination of pre-recorded and live events from various performers, many of whom have provided entertainment in past years.
To put on the to-go food event during the pandemic, Eckart said attendees will be required to follow COVID-19 protocol, including wearing masks and social distancing.
“We have a lot of local performers, but we also have some from all over the country,” Eckart said. “We are hoping to have a presentation of some video from our jousters and from musical groups such as Tullamore and Brizeus.”
Eckart said the department is planning to feature videos from artisans creating their wares, such as potters at wheels and blacksmiths at forges.
“Our two groups that are strong supporters of the content at the fair — Arthurian Order of Avalon and the Society for Creative Anachronism — are brainstorming to see what sort of educational entertainment they can present for us, as well,” Eckart said.
While the Medieval Fair will provide virtual entertainment, the absence of in-person festivities for this year’s event means less revenue for Norman.
Dan Schemm, VisitNorman executive director, said the Norman Medieval Fair is the third largest event in Oklahoma and the largest weekend event in the state.
Schemm said the festival usually attracts over 240,000 visitors on average and generates around $4 million in direct sales for restaurants, shops and gas stations.
According to an Economic Impact Calculator report, the event brings in over $193,000 in local taxes.
Eckart said it was important to have the to-go food event if possible because many people come to the fair for the food.
For more information, visit facebook.com/MedievalFair.