Hoggetowne Medieval Faire

Nick Boucher, Ashley Jones, Deborah Jordan, and Everette Street Photo: Susan Roche

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, this medieval marketplace will come to life on Jan. 29- 30 and Feb. 4- 6.
Hoggetowne is home to more than 160 talented artisans from across the country who journey to the Faire to sell and demonstrate their wares, offering medieval crafts such as weaving, blacksmithing, leatherworking, wood carving and glass blowing. Fairgoers can browse through a selection of delicate medieval jewelry or glimpse into their future with a mystical fortune teller.
The Faire’s eight stages will come alive with the forgotten skills of full-flight falconry, gripping aerial acrobatics and old-world magic. Jugglers, knife throwers and gypsy dancers add to the excitement as they fill the streets of Hoggetowne.
One of the Faire’s most popular attractions is the joust, with knights in full-body armor battle on horseback. Children can meet the knights and their magnificent steeds, or they can watch the Living Chess Match, where the wizard Merlin will battle Morgause, the overbearing head mistress of Orkney, to decide who wins the Sword of Power.
Visitors can also engage in traditional medieval games of chance and skill. They can shoot arrows or hurl battle axes at targets, or they can navigate their way through a winding maze. Thrilling human-powered push rides, as well as camel and elephant rides, attract eager children and adventurous adults.
Produced by the City of Gainesville Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs, the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire draws more than 50,000 guests each year. On Saturdays and Sundays, the Faire is open from 10 am to 6 pm and costs $14 for adults and $7 for children ages 5 to 17. The Faire is free for children under 5. School day, Friday, Feb. 4, is open from 9:30 am to 3 pm, and admission is half-price. Pets are not permitted. The Alachua County Fairgrounds is located east of Gainesville at 2900 NE 39th Ave., adjacent to Gainesville Regional Airport. For more information, visit www.gvlculturalaffairs.org or call (352) 334-ARTS.