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Medieval Festival at Sands Point Preserve canceled

Douglas Smested, of Merrick, poses in armor during

Douglas Smested, of Merrick, poses in armor during the Sands Point Medieval Festival. (Sept. 11, 2010) Credit: Kirsten Luce, 2010

The Medieval Festival at Sands Point Preserve, usually held the two weekends after Labor Day, won’t be appearing at the Sands Point Preserve this year.

Mary Redler, vice-president of Medieval Scenarios and Recreations, the nonprofit that runs the festival, said she was unable to get a new contract from Nassau County for the fair, which typically attracts 10,000 visitors over the two weekends.

Redler said the county also began asking the nonprofit to pay rent to house its three jousting horses at the preserve, which previously had been allowed for free. The county asked for $9,750 in back rent for January 2011 through January 2012, and $750 per month going forward for the horses -- a charge Redler said the nonprofit could not afford.

Redler said the county made money from previous festivals by keeping the proceeds from the gate.

Mary Studdert, a spokeswoman for Nassau County Parks, said it was Redler’s group who chose to cancel the event, not the county.

“Nassau County has made every effort to keep the Medieval Festival alive in Sands Point and even attempted to offer other facilities and dates for the event,” Studdert said in a written statement. “The operator chose to cancel the event.”

Redler said her group has been looking for other locations to hold the festival in the future, but so far has not found any place that could rival the medieval-looking Castle Gould in the preserve.

“There’s a reluctance to do a fair at a place that’s not conducive to a medieval setting,” Redler said.

Photo: Douglas Smested, of Merrick, poses in armor during the Sands Point Medieval Festival. 

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