The Hoggetowne Medieval Faire returns


Published: Thursday, January 22, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 12:42 p.m.

Have you ever wanted to get your fortune read, ride an elephant, see a man eat fire or witness knights fight on horseback?

Starting this weekend, all these things and more linked to the Middle Ages, will be revived for the 23th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire at the Alachua County Fairgrounds.

The annual event, which starts Friday and Saturday, and continues Jan. 30 through Feb. 1, will feature a marketplace with 165 artisans selling and demonstrating time-honored skills such as weaving, woodcarving and jewelry making. Nine stages of entertainment will take visitors back in time as musicians play old world instruments and performers juggle, dance, throw knives and performing shocking acrobatics and magic acts.

The city of Gainesville's Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs organizes the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, which is expected to draw 55,000 attendees this year.

It was first started by the Society for Creative Anachonism, a local group that does re-enactments from the Middle Ages, as a half-day event on the grounds of the historic Thomas Center for the Arts.

Then it was expanded to one weekend and in its fifth year, the fair moved to the Alachua County Fairgrounds.

Linda Piper, who has produced the popular event for 15 years as events coordinator with the city's department, says the fair "exceeds expectations and breaks attendance records" each year.

"This event is nationally-known for its quality of entertainment and artisans who participate," Piper says. "We have some of the best performers on the entire circuit who will be attending Hoggetowne. It has a reputation of being one of the best medieval fairs in the country."

The crowd favorite is the joust, in which knights dressed in full-plate armor charge each other on horseback to battle for their ladies' honor. Also, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table will square up against evil forces in the Living Chess Game.

With the sound of a trumpet daily 12:30 and 4:30 p.m., a parade starts toward the jousting field "where you have to bow to the king and queen," Piper says.

For an additional fee, visitors can enjoy elephant, camel, pony and human-push rides as well as hair braiding and face painting.

"Our event is truly a family event," she says. "It is geared toward the entire family and it's a great way to spend the day and it's extremely educational."

A "food court fit for a king" will offer delicious dishes such as giant turkey legs, ribs and sweet potato fries. Two beer stands will also be set up.

For the first time at the event, manual and motorized wheelchairs will be available for a fee. Piper said festivalgoers should arrive early not only to avoid long ticket line and congested parking lots, but also to experience all-day fun.

"During the first 30 minutes there's a meet-and-greet with all the actors and musicians. It's such an exciting time for everyone. Plus, it's great to spend the entire the day because there's so much to do. It's like a theme park. It's like going to Disney - arrive early and spend the whole day."

23rd Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire

What: Festival celebrating the Middle Ages with costumed performers, jousting, Living Chess Game, artisans marketplace, food and more.

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Jan. 31-Feb. 1; 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on "School Day" Jan. 30.

Where: Alachua County Fairgrounds, 2900 NE 39th Ave., next to Gainesville Regional Airport.

Tickets: $12 adults, $6 ages 5-17, free ages 4 and younger on Saturdays and Sundays, tickets half-price Jan. 30; advanced tickets available at any Gator Domino's location (pets not permitted).

Information: 334-ARTS or www.gvlculturalaffairs.org

23rd Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire

What: Festival celebrating the Middle Ages with costumed performers, jousting, Living Chess Game, artisans marketplace, food and more.

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Jan. 31-Feb. 1; 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. on "School Day" Jan. 30.

Where: Alachua County Fairgrounds, 2900 NE 39th Ave., next to Gainesville Regional Airport.

Tickets: $12 adults, $6 ages 5-17, free ages 4 and younger on Saturdays and Sundays, tickets half-price Jan. 30; advanced tickets available at any Gator Domino's location (pets not permitted).

Information: 334-ARTS or www.gvlculturalaffairs.org

Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.

Comments are currently unavailable on this article

▲ Return to Top