By Hannah Cruz
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — From live music to dancing, jugglers to circus acts, story telling to costume contests, the 38th Annual Medieval Fair has it all.
Scheduled for April 4-6 at Reaves Park, 2501 Jenkins Ave., the free fair offers live entertainment, historical presentations and arts and crafts shopping opportunities. In fact, Medieval Fair coordinator Ann Marie Eckart said there’s more fair than can be seen in a day.
“People should really plan to come out more than once,” she said. “As soon as possible we will have the program up on the website so people can plan their day if they want to. And that will have a list of the artists and the performers and the times and the places.”
Held annually since 1977, the fair, hosted by the University of Oklahoma, attracts upward of 300,000 people every year over the course of its three days. For Eckart, it’s no surprise so many flock to the fair.
“To have fun,” she said with a smile. “To get away from their every day worries. There are so many sights and sounds that will overwhelm the senses and help you to forget about all the worries of every day life. It’s a great chance to escape and take a step across that bridge of time to a simpler time.”
This year brings some unique opportunities for fair goers, Eckart said. Among perhaps the most interesting is Cast In Bronze, bringing carillon performances straight into the park.
A carillon is a four-ton musical instrument made of 35 bronze bells played from a modified keyboard with the fists and feet. Musician behind Cast In Bronze, Frank Della Penna, recently performed on TV show “America’s Got Talent,” Eckart said.
“To see it on TV doesn’t do it justice. I’ve heard it in person at the Muskogee and Texas festivals and the bells just have this resonance that goes all the way through you. It’s a very powerful performance and a very loud one,” she said.
Eckart said act Didgeman and Scarlett are bringing an interactive, educational music experience to fair goers this year.
During the act, performers go over the history of instruments and then pass the instruments out to audience members. By the end of the act, Eckart said, an orchestra has been created with audience members holding various acoustic, percussion and wind instruments.
Among the traditional yearly activities, Eckart said many fair-goers don’t miss the opportunity to be “knighted” or “princessed” by the fair’s royal court at the Royal Pavilion.
Favorite features of the fair include the Human Chess Game 12:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. each day at the Camelot Stage, jousting 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day at the Jousting Field, and Black Oak Shillelagh The Last Huzzah 6:15 p.m. each day at the Gryphon Stage.
Others enjoy shopping from art and craft booths that offer goods such as pottery, stained glass, armor, weapons, costumes, jewelry, puppets and more. This year, Eckart said the artisan vendor jury spent an exceptional amount of time deliberating over the applications to ensure all vendors are of the highest quality.
Parking, $5, is available at Lloyd Noble Center on Jenkins Avenue, located one block south of Reaves Park (benefits the Lloyd Noble Center).
Fair visitors should be aware City of Norman’s ordinances prohibit smoking in city parks. Alcoholic beverages also are prohibited.
Pets are allowed, though not encouraged because of the large crowds, and leash laws are strictly enforced.
For more information, visit medievalfair.org.
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