“Mark Thy Calendar,” say the organizers of this unique event. Put the Medieval Fair of Norman on your travel itinerary this spring. Held in early April, the fair is one of a few free festivals of its type in the United States. Donations, grants, and sponsored funds keep this distinctive fair in the running as the merriest fest Norman sees annually.
Lords and Ladies, Princes and Princesses, and of course, Kings and Queens, grace the lands of “Avalon,” the kingdom where the merriment takes place. Cast members of this lively court audition for their parts as jesters, knights, privateers, and royalty. This is to provide attendees with a real historical ambiance, with the mannerisms, language, and customs of the period authentically displayed.
You will see performances galore at The Medieval Fair of Norman. Visit Camelot to laugh at a human chess game. Marvel at the skills of a juggler at Unicorn Stage and sit by Storyteller’s Tree to hear a tall tale. Period “feast and drynk” must be sampled for a genuine encounter with days gone by. Watch tradespeople perform tasks of the era and cheer on a jousting tournament.
While in Oklahoma, see the gorgeous countryside and make a few stops at state parks like the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. A park with an abundance of natural resources, it is the ideal place to enjoy a picnic or stretch your legs with a short trek.
The Medieval Fair of Norman is free. Activities and performances at the fest over three days in early April are of no cost. Bring the family for a time of excitement where the only fee is a smile and enthusiasm. Visit www.medievalfair.org for information on the jousting tournaments, bard performances, and juggling acts.
Head south about 20 miles outside of Oklahoma City. Set forth on the I-35 and input the coordinates for Reaves Park, home of the fair. A busy town, Norman is home to the University of Oklahoma’s main campus. Visit the Oklahoma Department of Transportation website to see how to keep up to date on traffic and weather alerts as you travel.
Parking is available close to Reaves Park in the Lloyd Noble Center parking lot. Big in size, the lot provides ample parking for vehicles large and small. Then, it is a short walk to the Medieval Fair of Norman. If you require ADA parking, there is a limited amount at the fair grounds, and it is also on a first-come, first-served basis.
Check CART, the Cleveland Area Rapid Transit system that adequately services the Norman area with bussing around the city. Alternatively, another stress-free option is to take a cab or hail a ridesharing service as a mode of transportation to the land of Avalon. Along the bus route, you may want to make a stop in historic Norman-central to see a museum or two.
The kingdom of Avalon does not have onsite camping for those who visit. However, there are excellent options nearby in proximity to the goings-on. When choosing your favorite campground, take a family survey. Are you looking for the best trails to hike? Do you have an avid birdwatcher in the family? Take all points into consideration when looking for the ideal place to park your motorhome.
You may have a preference for either state park or privately owned. Narrow down your top amenities, and also think about primitive camping for a unique and authentic vacation. Some families like to leave the electronics at home (or at least packed away in the campervan to charge). Look to Lake Thunderbird State Park, for example. It is accessible for those with a large RV and offers both full hookup and primitive sites, to suit every type of camper.
Avalon is a large medieval neighborhood, and you will want to explore every corner. Don’t miss the pirate stage or the souvenir castle. They are located at opposite ends of the park which means that comfy shoes are a must. If you are in a wheelchair or have kids to transport via stroller or wagon, have assistance in case inclement weather makes the grassy terrain tough to navigate.
Jeans and a sweatshirt are ideal apparel for attending the fair. Daytime temperatures are typically pleasant. Although it is not generally hot, be aware of the strength of the sun’s rays and don a hat for protection of the face and ears. Evenings can be cool, so have a cozy sweatshirt for sitting around the fire at camp.
When making your list for gear, remember to take inventory of hoses for water and sewer, along with clamps and water pressure regulators. If you think you may be boondocking this trip, bring along a solar or lithium battery for the times when electricity is needed. For campfire cookouts, a cast iron pan is a handy accessory as you can create just about any dish in it.
When renting an RV for the first time, research safety rules for transporting the family. Seatbelts are essential, so be sure to use them for every family member. At camp, teach the kids about the fire and the hazards associated with it. Set a “no play zone” in proximity to the fire ring or pit. At the Medieval Fair of Norman, ensure everyone stays hydrated by toting refillable water bottles.
After a trek in a National Park, head back to your motorhome oasis for a hearty bowl of chili. Make tasty campfire garlic toast in the cast iron pan, topped with mozzarella and spices. Before leaving home, fill the water tanks with a fresh water supply and top up the propane. Pack eco-friendly dish soap, and take inventory of kitchen cleaning supplies.
Are you a fan of bistro food or Japanese sushi? Or, is a classic American barbecue your style? These flavors and more are yours for the tasting in Norman. Spoil the RV galley chef and try a night or two in town. If you would rather grab a bite on the way home from the fair, there are a few tasty eateries near Reaves Park.
Along with the characters of Avalon come the artisans and food specialists. Sample spiral spuds, Scottish meat pies, dessert crepes, fried peaches, and so much more. After taking your fill, look for a unique purchase to take home as a souvenir of your trip. Try on a kilt or gypsy-style top. Buy a glass-blown creation and a wooden mug.
The security stations can be found at a central location in Avalon. Police and security staff are on hand all weekend to ensure the fair runs smoothly. Alcohol and smoking are prohibited in city parks. You can bring your dog, but it is discouraged due to the number of people who attend the Medieval Fair of Norman. The crowds may be overwhelming for some canines.
The fair runs rain or shine. Pack rain gear so that you can enjoy the festivities no matter what the weather. Many events will take place under tents and on stages, allowing for continuous entertainment. Check the RV awning for functionality, verify that all engine fluids are topped up for both warm and cool weather, and check the tires for air before hitting the road. April is known to bring in some wet weather and afternoon thunderstorms, so keep an eye on the local forecast each morning as you head to the fair.
Remember to bring your cell phone with you on your vacation so that communication is available when needed. Put prescription medications at the top of your camping list. Store them safely in the RV, out of reach of pets and children. Top up the first aid supplies with fresh peroxide and antibiotic creams. Norman is well-known for its medical community, so care is available within the city as are pharmacy services.