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Ohio Renaissance Festival Denied Detachment from Harveysburg: Judge’s Verdict Explained

In a recent decision, a judge for Warren County ruled that the Ohio Renaissance Festival could not separate from Harveysburg village. Let us examine this decision’s specifics and ramifications in more detail.

Ohio Renaissance Festival vs. Harveysburg

The well-known medieval festival’s owner, Brimstone & Fire LLC, filed a petition in Warren County Common Pleas Court on December 30, 2022, sparking the start of the legal drama. Their objective? to incorporate the festival grounds into nearby Massie Township after separating them from Harveysburg. Nevertheless, Harveysburg fiercely opposed this action.

Key Elements in Question: Judge s Assessment

After carefully reviewing the case, Common Pleas Judge Donald E. Oda III determined that Brimstone & Fire had not met all state-mandated requirements for detachment. One of the most important factors assessed was that the corporation was unable to prove it was overtaxed for municipal purposes in relation to the village’s benefits.

Judge Oda also stressed that the separation would seriously impair the village’s best interests and efficient government. This decision emphasized how crucial it is to take into account factors other than just money when assessing an issue’s overall impact on the community.

Admissions Tax and Village Revenue

The festival’s revenue streams were one of the main grounds of disagreement. The festival has historically supported Harveysburg with a community development fee, which will total $44,000 in 2022. The community also looked to benefit greatly from an entrance tax passed in November 2023, which was projected to bring in between $150,000 and $180,000 a year.

Traffic and Law Enforcement

The court acknowledged that the detachment would have wider implications for the village’s capacity to uphold laws and regulations within the festival grounds, in addition to financial ones. The Ohio Renaissance Festival’s surge of guests presented difficulties for law enforcement and traffic control, highlighting the festival’s close ties to the local community.

Prospects for Resolution

Even with the legal setback, a cooperative solution is still conceivable. Brimstone and Fire’s David Ashcraft suggested that Harveysburg and Massie Township form a Joint Economic Development District. The goal of this effort is to address the concerns of all stakeholders and promote a more structured approach to governance.

Looking Ahead

The Ohio Renaissance Festival is preparing to introduce date-specific ticketing in response to the issues presented by the ruling in an effort to improve guest experience and better control crowd movement. This flexible strategy shows a dedication to striking a balance between the community’s welfare and the cultural relevance of the festival.


Judge Oda’s decision emphasizes the delicate balance that must be struck between private profit and the wellbeing of the community, even as the detachment lawsuit rages on. To forge ahead while maintaining tradition and advancing progress, stakeholders must work together and take adaptable steps as they traverse this difficult terrain.

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