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Clark Matthews Goes Medieval On Your Ass

8:57 PM EDT on April 11, 2008

It started off innocently. While checking my email, which I normally do 974 times a day without incident, this message from Tony was found in the inbox:

From: Hanadarko, Tony

Sent: Friday, March 28, 2008 12:17 PM

To: Nelson, Patrick

Cc: Matthews, Clark

Subject: Jenni Carlson deserves a Pulitzer

next weekend is the medieval fair in norman. it's been years since i've been, but my recollection is that this is like the state fair of dorks. if either of you have nothing to do next weekend, it could provide some good material.

Being the good husband that I am, I begged off and I passed the buck to my wife. "With as much as I have been working, I can't go without her and I doubt she'll be up for going," I replied. Then I made the mistake of actually telling her about it.

"(ClarkPupp) might enjoy that," was all she said.

Conundrum. Her lukewarm endorsement meant I actually could go. Knowing Tony wasn't going and that no amount of ale served in fancy containers could convince Patrick to attend, it was up to me to uncover the treasure trove of material available. Problem is, I didn't want to go. So that meant I had to weigh the pluses and minuses of going.

  • Being surrounded by failed high school theatre geeks looking for an excuse to dress up in stage costumes and dust off their bad British accents. MINUS
  • Corndogs. PLUS
  • Taking my child to an outdoor festival. PLUS
  • Risking that my child will actually enjoy being around the Dungeons and Dragons crowd. MINUS
  • The cost: Free PLUS
  • Going to Norman. MINUS

After that exercise, I was right back to the drawing board. I finally decided to let the weather be the final arbiter, and I'llbedamned if it wasn't perfect outside. So, that's how I ended up at the Medieval Fair of Norman.

After the jump, I will share some observations and a few pictures.Before I start with the pictures, I should probably warn everyone that I am painfully shy when it comes to approaching complete strangers, and I am a complete wuss when it comes to risking the ire of people who carry swords around for fun. As a result, most of my pictures were taken from far away--meaning, most of the good stuff was ruined by people walking in front of me. Luckily, someone who goes by "Musicfortheeyes" does not have those handicaps and put some pictures in the public domain.  (On another side note, this fear of strangers, as well as a fear of being seen as that creepy guy who makes you realize that having a blog is a bad idea, kept me from introducing myself to Blythe from Bee-spot who I am positive I saw leaving the fair as I was entering.)

One thing I noticed was that few people were actually drinking at the fair. Sure, everyone seemed to have a beer, but it appeared they purchased it only because the containers were kind of awesome. They came in glass bottles that had straps that could be attached to one's ye olde belt. I never actually saw someone taking a swig from these bottles. Part of me wishes that everyone there were bombed because it would explain the desire to dress up like peasants from the Middle Age.

Mrs. Matthews saw this and thought it was dunk tank. That would have been awesome. Instead it turns out to be just a sign that the people who put this fair together do not know the difference between Greek mythology and Medieval lore. It should also be noted that this attraction boasted mermen...I didn't find purpose to snap a shot of them.

Again with the historical inaccuracy. According to Europeon history scholar Mrs. Matthews, residents of the continent of Europe during the Middle Ages were unlikely to know of the existence of elephants, let alone have the opportunity to ride on one like a horse. It was pretty cool to see an elephant walking around at a park in Norman, though.

A parade of dorks if there has ever been one. Where could they be going?

A HUMAN CHESS MATCH! At least that's how this complete cluster of a side show billed itself. It would have been more accurately labeled: "WWE presented by the Not-Ready-for-Their-High-School-Production-of-Camelot Players".

Microwave pork rinds--Just like the pork they served at fairs in Medieval times. Apparently they were carb conscious then, too.

It must be a dream come true to be knighted in full view of the port-o-johns. (I'll leave it to those of you who leave comments to make the Michael Jackson joke that goes with this photo.)

Musicfortheeyes, the person who took this picture, teased it with the caption: "Uh-oh. Grandma got her boobs out." I can't improve on that.

Mrs. Matthews tells me that she was relieved to find that using costume parties as an excuse to skeez out is not limited to sorority girls at Halloween parties.

I assume every Medieval Fair has a crazy rat lady.

After seeing this photo, Patrick's co-worker first noticed her freaky colorful eyes.

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