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Hear Ye, Hear Ye! Norman’s Medieval Fair Returned…Sort Of.

6:25 AM EDT on April 12, 2021

As my friend’s light-blue dragon of a finely-tuned automobile turned into the sparse parking lot furthest away from the culinary settlement, I glanced past the trees and over the main road to the very-there parcel of land carved out by the few food-truck operators willing to brave the end of this plague year and its sullen entry into local Medieval Fair lore.

Like many Oklahoma City area bread and circuses over the past year, the good fairs have gone quiet and the decent fairgoers even quieter, but as responsible citizens have been receiving their vaccinations on a steady basis, slowly events have been returning to the forefront with one of Norman’s most flagrant—the Medieval Fair—leading the way. Sort of.

Walking out onto Reaves Park in its sunshiny glory, the bright yellow signage informed us it was a special event, featuring “food to go” now and the fair as a special online event later. As mainly hungry adults skittered around looking for something to desperately snack on, waving scarily at townsfolk off to the side was the only costumed creature I had seen there thus far, a skeletal warrior:

With twenty (or, probably, far less) trucks lined up on the gravel and green of the park, there was no sword-swinging fighters or tightly-bloused lasses to methodically heat up this winterfresh blood; instead there were the usual event-worthy eats featuring sausage-on-a-stick, fried-cheese-on-a-stick and, presumably, just sticks. It is a medieval fair, right?

My friend made the first stop at an old favorite of mine, Tad’s Bodacious Burritos. While I would have expected, at the very least. Tad’s “Ye Olde” Bodacious Burritos, all was forgiven with the pricey order of a Walking Taco ($8.00), the first in a long line of non-canon eats. The bag of Doritos, halved with various bits of cheese and greens, left us with a minor snack that fueled as well a fortified us to our next not-so-ancient eatery.

But, before then, along the way we noticed that period-friendly music was being chimed in from somewhere; with no band within sight, it turned out that, on a picnic table, a computer was turned to presumably the Middle Ages channel on Spotify. Next to the speakers, however, a jolly woman had a large rat on her shoulder which I petted and then, promptly, tested positive for the bubonic plague.

Needing something sugary for my soul, I headed over to B&G Concessions—the other Indian Taco guys in the business—because I heard through the interloping grapevine they were deep-frying Twinkies ($4.00), another mass-carnival treat I have never had. As the powdered sugar covered the table like a coke-heavy scene from Scarface, I was mildly amused by the tasty novelty of the snack, but only mildly.

For our finally concession snack of this feudal faux-pas, I had decided to go full renaissance man and try Big G’s Gator on a Stick ($12.00). As I stood in line, my mind picturing a ferocious alligator impaled on a wooden pike, those tasteless fantasies were jostled loose by a welcomed interruption from my gal-pal Jodie and her husband, sadly not there for any type of reptile meat.

As my friend ordered a repulsive hunk of fried cheese-on-a-stick, I opened the Styrofoam container containing my gator and I was…somewhat let down. Despite the wholly predictable minuscule size, the meat of this water-bound creature was irreversibly dry and somewhat tasteless, my mouth needed some sort of liquid, preferably mead, to choke it down piece-by-piece, bite-by-bite.

My naturally bloodshot eyes about to pop out of my head as I tried desperately to get the gator down, from out of nowhere, the Pope and his sworn acolyte appeared on the concrete road, apparently to cure me of my afternoon vexing; in return, I accused them of heresy. It seemed like the right thing to do, by God.

_

Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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