Rennaisance Festival finishes successful year

HARVEYSBURG – As the Ohio Renaissance Festival draws to a close, organizers say they’re getting excited about what next year’s event will bring.

Attendance at this year’s festival was 200,000, up 5 percent over last year, said Cheryl Bucholtz, vice president for marketing at the Ohio Renaissance Festival. The festival ran which ran weekends from Sept. 1 through Oct. 21.

“It wasn’t our largest year, but it was definitely in the top five,” Bucholtz said.

The weather was cooperative, she said, as warmer weekends brought out more foot traffic.

The festival introduced several new dishes such as a macaroni and cheese combination in a bread bowl as well as familiar dishes like the smoked turkey leg and haggis, said Chris Cavender, the food manager for the fair. Cavendar noted the fair regularly introduces new food, and may bring back some of this years’ popular dishes based on demand.

Next year, Bucholtz said the fair will examine more themed weekend ideas based on the success of “Irish Weekend” which took place this year. It may remove some of the other themes to accommodate this.

Bucholtz also said the festival plans to build new buildings in the off season and will expand the grounds. He declined to describe the expansions.

“We definitely had a fantastic year, and we did a lot to freshen up our event,” she said. “We’ll expand the site a little for next year.”

Bridget Coughlin, communications manager at the Warren County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said the county does not gather statistics on the economic impact of specific events, but noted several area hotels have created special Renaissance Festival packages which have been profitable.

The 2013 festival will take place over eight weekends next fall.