Experience a world of medieval magic, where jousting knights, dancing gypsies and historic heroes mingle with visitors at the 31st Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire. For two consecutive weekends, Saturday, Jan. 28, Sunday, Jan. 29 and Friday, Feb. 3 through Sunday, Feb. 5, the Alachua County Fairgrounds transforms into a medieval marketplace filled with hundreds of artisans and entertainers. Friday, Feb. 3 is “Discount Friday,” which features reduced-price ticket sales for all guests.
“The Hoggetowne Medieval Faire is a place where people of all ages can appreciate the rich culture of the Middle Ages,” said Faire Coordinator Sunshine Andrei. “Coming to the faire and enjoying its authentic atmosphere has become a tradition for families from across Florida.”
Fairgoers do not just visit to immerse themselves in the medieval atmosphere; they come to see more than 160 talented artisans, who travel from across the country to display and sell their traditional wares. Visitors can find one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, stone and wood carvings, blacksmithing, weaving, hand-blown glassware and leather goods. They can also shop for medieval clothing, get their hair braided or glimpse into the future at a fortune teller’s booth.
The winding pathways of Hoggetowne overflow with troupes of actors, musicians and street performers. Crowds cheer for armored knights as they joust on the Tournament Field, while nine stages of continuous entertainment feature majestic performances of full flight falconry, aerial acrobatics and unbelievable magic acts. In conjunction with this year’s theme of “Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of Hearts,” fairgoers will have the opportunity to see one of the greatest queens in history as she defies the social constraints of her time and forgoes her own legend!
Watching these battles is enough to make any guest hungry. At the food court, visitors will enjoy a feast fit for a king. Tasty blooming onions, fresh-baked pastries, sweet potato fries, giant turkey legs, homemade ice cream and succulent ribs are just some of the foods available for famished lords and ladies.
The faire also offers entertainment for children. They can embark on an adventure to the royal pavilion, where they will become lords and ladies of the court of Hoggetowne, or they can enjoy camel and pony rides. Thrilling, human-powered push rides also draw crowds of eager children, who can rock back and forth on a sea dragon or spin around on the Barrel of Bedlam. Adults can join in the fun with more than a dozen old-world games such as archery and knife throwing.
Come early to enjoy a day packed with excitement and medieval merriment. Faire hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays, and 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3. Admission is $17 for adults, $7 for children ages five to 17 and free for children younger than five. Tickets are reduced Friday, Feb. 3, when admission is $8 for adults and $3.50 for children. Avoid waiting in line and experience the convenience of purchasing tickets in advance online at www.HoggetowneFaire.com, at any Gator Domino’s in Gainesville or in person at the Thomas Center. For more information, call 352-334-ARTS or visit www.HoggetowneFaire.com.