ROCK CREEK — The Great Lakes Medieval Faire kicks off its summer festivities Saturday.
Nearing 30 years in existence, the faire, which brings silks, swords and knights to forested acreage off Route 534 south of Interstate 90, runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays until Aug. 18. Tickets are $22 for adults.
Joann Riordan, marketing director, said people this year will find 13 stages with attractions and shows from jousting to comedy to live-action chess. More than 100 artisans, including glass blowers, jewelers and blacksmiths, also have demonstrations and items for sale.
“There are all sorts of things in between,” she said, adding, “The food is such a value, it’s amazing.”
Just how many people come through the faire each year isn’t easy to answer, given that it runs for six weekends through the summer, Riordan said.
“It’s in the thousands over the six weekends,” she said. “Let’s put it this way — the ticketing process is as medieval as the times are.”
One thing people will not see at this year’s faire is Nosey the elephant, a 30-year-old circus elephant who had given attendees rides in the past. Nosey, whose presence had spurred protests from animal rights activists, has since been taken to a sanctuary.
“She was a well-loved and cared for elephant, but a lot of people weren’t fans of having an elephant there,” she said.
There will also be no alcohol sold at this year’s faire. A liquor permit had been sought last year, to which Trumbull Township trustees objected, and the permit application was pulled. Riordan said rather than going through a legal battle, the faire chose not to pursue it.
It wouldn’t have been the first time the faire owner Larry Rickard and trustees clashed. Both parties have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees over a variety of legal actions over the years.
Trustees and state attorneys for the Ohio Attorney General’s Office claimed Rickard withheld money from the Faire’s beer sales dating back to 1994 — money that was to benefit multiple charity organizations in the area, including the county Humane Society, Cork Little League, two local volunteer fire departments and more — for use as mortgage payments.
Riordan said those disputes have been settled. However, trustee Ron Tamburrino said while there is no new litigation there are existing judgments in favor of the township against Rickard that have gone unpaid.
“There are still some issues that remain unresolved,” he said.
For more information on the Great Lakes Medieval Faire visit www.medievalfaire.com.