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Middle Ages return to Norman with annual fair

The 38th annual Medieval Fair opened at Reaves Park in Norman on Friday. The fair continues through Sunday.
BY SARAH LOBBAN, For The Oklahoman Published: April 5, 2014

At Reaves Park, banners emblazoned with a crest of two rampant unicorns above a crown signaled the start of the 38th annual Medieval Fair on Friday.

The festival, which continues daily through Sunday, kicked off with a parade fit for a king — literally. The procession included men-at-arms, falconers, a jester, ladies-in-waiting and, of course, a lord and lady.

With cries of “Long live the king!”, the parade wound its way through pavilions selling swords, snacks and fashionably archaic attire, coming to rest at the Royal Court near the center of the park. There, King Edward III of England declared the fair officially open.

Most of the year, Edward III goes by the name Cody Clark and works at the University of Oklahoma’s Housing and Food Department. Clark has been a part of the fair since its creation in 1977. He and his court have been rehearsing their roles since September. It might seem like a lot of effort for a three-day event, but for Clark and his court, the work is its own reward.

“We think of ourselves as the ambassadors for the fair,” Clark said. “The best part is seeing the smiles and the looks of wonderment on the children’s faces when we knight them or make them princesses or whatever title they choose. That makes everything we do worth it.”

Different organizations collaborate to bring the Middle Ages back during the fair. Some, like the Society for Creative Anachronism and the Arthurian Order of Avalon, bring actors who, like Clark, take on a historical persona to entertain and educate. Others specialize in medieval science, art or weaponry.

Almost perfect replica

Chuck Waite, of Tulsa, is a member of the Saltfork Craftsmen Artist-Blacksmith Association. His forge, complete with bellows and anvil, is an almost prefect replica of what would have been used to make weapons 700 years ago.

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