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 will come to life January 26-27 and February 1-3, 2019. Hoggetowne is home to more than 160 talented artisans from across the country who journey to the Faire to sell and demonstrate their traditional wares. Visitors can find one-of-a-kind pieces of jewelry, stone and wood carvings, blacksmithing, weaving, hand-blown glassware and leather goods. They can also shop for medieval clothing. Visitors should arrive early to take full advantage of the exciting medieval magic. Each morning all the entertainers greet the Hoggetowne guests as the city gates open to this enchanted kingdom.
One of the Faire’s most popular attractions is the joust, where knights in full body armor battle on horseback. Children can meet the knights and their magnificent steeds. In conjunction with this year’s theme of “The Magical World of Merlin,” the Tournament Field will host a stunning show of combat entertainment during a Living Chess Match as a dashing Robin Hood and his Merry Men stand against Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham . 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 pony rides, attract eager children and adventurous adults. 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. After roaming the streets of Hoggetowne and working up an appetite, both adults and children can enjoy a feast fit for a king at the food court. The tempting aromas of freshly baked pastries, blooming onions, sweet potato fries, giant turkey legs and succulent ribs attract scores of lords and ladies.
Produced by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department, the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire draws more than 40,000 guests each year. On Saturdays and Sundays, the Faire is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and costs $18 for adults and $8 for children ages 5 to 17. The Faire is free for children 4 and under. Family Friday, Friday, February 1, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and general admission is $9 for adults and $4 for children. Pets are not permitted. The Alachua County Fairgrounds is located east of Gainesville at 3100 NE 39th Ave. adjacent to Gainesville Regional Airport. No waiting in line… experience the convenience of purchasing tickets in advance online (buy tickets now), at any Gator Domino’s in Gainesville, and in person at the Thomas Center.