WUFT News

Hoggetowne Medieval Faire opens Saturday

By on January 24th, 2013
Courtesy of Linda Piper.

Before the jousts, before the elephant rides, before the human chess game, Peter Meyer picked up a hammer.

Wearing a black T-shirt and cargo shorts, Meyer, 48, worked on finishing a wooden structure Wednesday that will house Tarot card readers.

On Saturday, he will don medieval garb and become one of 165 artisans selling and demonstrating their wares at the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire. The 27th annual fair opens Saturday at the Alachua County Fairgrounds and will run this weekend and next.

“The fair is truly a step back in time to the middle ages,” said Linda Piper, the fair’s producer and events coordinator with Gainesville’s parks, recreation and cultural affairs department. “I always say that Orlando has Disney and Gainesville has Hoggetowne.”

Courtesy of Linda Piper.

Performers at a past Hoggetowne Medieval Faire entertain a crowd.

Visitors will find blacksmiths, jewelry, stone and wood carvings, weaving, hand-blown glassware, leather crafts and period fashions. On eight stages, they will see performances by jugglers and jesters, magicians and musicians.

The food court’s offerings will include bloomin’ onions, giant turkey legs, sweet potato fries, ribs, chicken-on-a-stick and funnel cakes. Guests can ride ponies, camels and elephants and can get their faces painted, hair braided and fortunes told.

About 55,000 people attended the fair last year, Piper said, breaking attendance records. She expects more in 2013.

About 6,000 school groups from 26 counties have preregistered to come to the fair for a field trip, Piper said. The fair receives no city funding, and the $250,000 it costs to produce comes from entrance and booth fees.

Courtesy of Linda Piper.

Guests who want to beat traffic and long lines should arrive before the gates open, Piper said. The fair’s entertainers will be ready at 9:45 a.m. on the weekends to greet visitors with a song-and-dance show. Piper said that is her favorite time of day to see all the animals and the stilt-walkers.

Meyer said he started coming to the fair 18 years ago with members of a local Tarot guild. A J.R.R. Tolkien fan and lover of fantasy themes, he said he will sell his ornamental shields and wood carvings and check out the costumes of other fair-goers.

“It’s a great place to kick back and watch the crowds go by,” he said. “You see everything.”

In another booth called Princessories, Justin Koerner set up jewelry Wednesday. Before Koerner, 26, started working Renaissance fairs year-round five years ago, he said, he got a culinary degree and worked 60 hours a week in a kitchen.

“I was always stressing and really pulling my hair out, and as soon as I started working this two days a week, I make the same amount of money as I used to, but I have a lot more time to work on my hobbies and my own personality,” he said. “If you like something, it’s not work, it’s a way of living.”

When? The fair will be open this Saturday and Sunday and February 1, 2 and 3. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday.

Where? The Alachua County Fairgrounds at 2900 NE 39th Ave. next to the Gainesville Regional Airport on SR 222.

How much? Admission is $14 for adults, $7 for children ages 5 to 17 and free for children under 5. On February 1, tickets are half price.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Mike Myers, 68, illustrates how he created a notepad from an orange juice container. Myers said that the Repurpose Project is the culmination of his dream.

Repurpose Project Finds Success in New Location

After moving to its new location next to Satchel’s Pizza, The Repurpose Project has more than quadrupled in size and substance. The owners plan to expand with the additional space, adding a garden, play area for kids and an event area.


A herd of American bison gather on Dixie Sportsman’s Hunting Preserve February
21. The 320-acre preserve is currently for sale.

Future Uncertain For 320-Acre Dixie County Hunting Preserve

A wildlife preserve in Dixie County used for hunting is for sale. The current owner said he will not require the buyer to continue in the hunting business.


Feature-img

HOPE Comes On Four Legs For Veterans

Horses act as therapy animals for people with disabilities, special needs children and veterans with PTSD in a local program called HOPE. With recent expansions, HOPE now has funding to create an employment model to help veterans in their program to find a job.


District 1 Commission Seat candidates discuss ways transportation between the East and West sides of Gainesville can be improved.

Gainesville City Commission Candidates Discuss Transportation Improvements

Finding a way around Gainesville can be difficult with limited buses and dangerous bike lanes, but City Commission candidates offer similar solutions to improve transportation issues. Yet a public forum revealed they do not agree on how to pay for the changes.


Tom Fox’s three-story, shipping container home houses an array of 36 solar panels on his roof. Fox said the panels will pay for all his electric needs over the next 50 years.

Local Home Provides Blueprint For Alternative Housing

The number of sustainable and alternative homes is increasing in Florida. Gainesville resident Tom Fox leads the way with one of the first shipping container homes in Florida.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments