For 31 years, the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire has revitalized the people of Alachua County’s passion for the dark ages. With over 160 vendors, the booths range from face painting and leather shops to absinthe tasting tents.
Characters greet you from the moment you enter the faire until the time you leave, but not everyone is an employee. Maidens and knights greet you onto the fairgrounds after you’ve bought your tickets, but the most intricate costumes tend to be worn by the enthusiastic attendees garnished with fantastical costumes and pageantry. Witches, warlocks, knights and maidens have all made this festival their home.
For attendee Hailey Pittman, seeing everybody all dressed up, having fun and being able to fit in are her favorite parts of the faire.
An indisputable crowd favorite among the medieval entertainment is the jousting competition held twice a day. Many enthusiastic faire-goers gather around a large field to watch valiant knights barrel towards each other and clash swords on horseback.
For $5, guests can saddle up on a camel while enjoying the free entertainment. Live fencing, juggling and hula-hooping all thrill and entertain guests while they sip on some “wizard’s wine”(fruit punch) or order up some faire eats.
The sights, sounds and smells of the Medieval Faire aren’t complete without the accompanying medieval fare. Transport yourself to King Arthur’s round table and wash down a turkey leg with a pint of cold mead.
For the less carnivorous faire-goers, there are plenty of options from decadent donuts to an enormous blooming onion. Expect a fried rendition of just about any one of your favorite foods.
From your typical corndogs and french fries to fried butter and cheesecake, calorie counting isn’t on the medieval agenda. If you tip the people making you food or drinks, you will get an enthusiastic “huzzah to the tipper!”
This faire is a child’s dream. Little boys dress as knights and girls as lovely princesses. Some have wooden swords and princess crowns. Though kids might not be interested in watching living chess, they will find fun in the Kid’s Kingdom.
The faire will continue at the Alachua County fairgrounds from Feb. 3 to Feb. 5. Friday, Feb. 3 is discount day.
Adult tickets are priced at $8 instead of $17 and student tickets are $3.50. You can buy tickets at the gate, online, a Gainesville Domino’s store or at the Thomas Center.
Credit cards are accepted at the gate to buy tickets but not widely accepted by the vendors in the faire.
Transport yourself back to an age of knights and armory, while being a part of the magic of the dark ages that the faire has brought to Alachua County every year for three decades.
Address: Alachua County Fairgrounds, 2900 NE 39th Ave., next to Gainesville Regional Airport