Md. Renaissance Festival Looking For Larger Home

LANHAM, Md. (CBSDC) — The Maryland Renaissance Festival as it currently exists in Crownsville will live to see its 30th year this summer and fall, but event president Jules Smith cannot guarantee that spot will always be its home.

Earlier this month, Smith took to Facebook to announce that a change could be coming for the much-loved fair.

“We have been offered a large property directly on a major divided highway with larger fields and woods,” he wrote.

“We love being stewards of the property we currently lease but feel it is important to study this opportunity and see if approval from authorities would be permitted to operate in a new area that would allow us to provide an event with improved access, better customer services, greater space and more gentle topography in the village.”

Some feel the festival has outgrown its 130-acre property, most of which is dedicated to parking. Traffic issues in the area have been a concern in recent years.

Responses on the Facebook announcement were mixed.

“Oh dear, I will be one of those heart broken to lose this site,” one woman wrote. “Being embedded in the forest gives the Faire an atmosphere that I cannot imagine being recreated elsewhere, especially on a divided highway.”

“It would be great to be able to go without getting caught in the awful traffic jams/parking lot jams,” another person reasoned. “Would also really love a better terrain that is more handicap-accessible.”

Many locals wrote that their main concern would be if the festival moved to a venue too far away from their homes.

But the county is hoping to keep the event within its borders, according to Rosa Cruz, spokeswoman for Anne Arundel Economic Development Corp.

Over the past 10 years, the county has collected about $15.7 million in tax revenue through sales, vendor, property and amusement taxes related to the festival, she says.

According to a Feb. 12 report in the Capital Gazette, the owner of a 225-acre farm in Lothian, which is about 20 miles south of Crownsville, is in talks with festival officials about leasing his property for future events.

Smith would not confirm that information for the Gazette, however.

The 2014 festival is scheduled to run in Crownsville from Aug. 23 to Oct. 19.

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