Gainesville Goes Medieval
For two weekends each year, the clear blast of trumpets mingles with the laughter of children as the kingdom of Hoggetowne opens its gates. Performers in period garb sing and dance in the streets, while knights joust on horseback and magicians captivate the crowds. Tucked away in the enchanted forest of the Alachua County Fairgrounds in Gainesville, Florida, this medieval marketplace comes to life Jan. 27-28 and Feb. 2-4. Friday, February 2 will be Family Friday, which features reduced price ticket sales for all guests.
Children can also enjoy School Day at the Faire on February. 2, in which thousands of students from Florida journey to Hoggetowne for a day of face painting, hair braiding and medieval crafts. General admission tickets are reduced and larger discounts are available to school groups that register in advance.
This year’s theme is The Adventures of Robin Hood, with Robin Hood, Maid Marian and the Merry Men standing against the Sheriff of Nottingham and the villainous Prince John in a battle of wits and steel on the Living Chessboard.
Sunshine Andrei, Faire coordinator, says, “Each morning all the entertainers greet the Hoggetowne guests as the city gates open to this enchanted kingdom. Visitors should plan to spend the entire day” The sound of applause echoes from the Faire’s nine stages, where the forgotten skills of full-flight falconry, gripping aerial acrobatics and Old-World magic come to life. Jugglers, knife throwers and gypsy dancers add to the excitement as they fill the streets of Hoggetowne.
People wait all year for Hoggetowne’s enticing blend of artwork, period music and medieval traditions. One of the most popular attractions is the joust. The audience cheers on their champion as the armored knights charge across the field wielding lances or swords as they battle on horseback. Afterwards, children can meet the knights and their magnificent steeds.
Cost is adults – $18, youth (5-17) – $8, senior/military – $15 and children under 5 – free. Feb. 2 is Family Friday, and prices are adults – $9, youth (5-17) – $4 and children under 5 – free. Feb 2 is also School Day at the Faire, with discounted prices for preregistered school groups. Prices are adult/chaperone – $6, student – $2, children under 5 – free and guests with disabilities – free. The Hoggetowne Medieval Faire is located at the Alachua County Fairgrounds, 3100 NE 39th Ave., Gainesville. For prices and all other information, visit HoggetowneFaire.com.