Groups advocating medical marijuana, paranormal research claim they were denied booths at fair

TULSA - Thousands apply each year to get a booth at the Tulsa State Fair, but two groups claim they were denied spots because of their more untraditional subject matters.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Tulsa State Fair

Ryan Payne is director of the Oklahoma Department of Paranormal Research, a relatively new organization. He applied for a booth at the fair in May because he hoped to gain his group some attention.

"There are people living with unwanted paranormal activity that are looking for help, looking for answers," Payne said. "We really wanted to have that exposure so that it was on the forefront of people's minds. It's something that can be talked about."

In August, however, fair coordinators sent Payne an email saying they had no room for his group. The same thing happen to Green the Vote, whose volunteers are collecting signatures right now to legalize medical marijuana in Oklahoma.

"We look for ways to overcome," said Isaac Caviness, president of Green the Vote. "In some ways, instead of naming ourselves Green the Vote, we should have named ourselves 'adapt and overcome' because that's what we do."

Both groups are worried that their interests played into the fair's decision not to give them booths, but fair coordinators say that's not the case.

"The Tulsa State Fair is a great avenue for companies and organizations to reach the community," said Sarah Thompson, the fair's marketing supervisor, "so the subject matter isn't a determining factor. We look at the best use of space."

Without a space inside the fair, Green the Vote supporters are now set up outside it. They said they are getting somewhere between 200 and 300 signatures per hour set up outside, but they said they could get a whole lot more if they had a booth.

Members of the Oklahoma Department of Paranormal Research are considering applying to get a booth next year.

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