Every year, the Gainesville fair grounds steps back in time to become Hoggetowne , a medieval world full of fantastical characters and mythical creatures. I first started going about 10 years ago and I have been returning nearly every year, dragging along friends and family members ever since. Now we look forward to it all year, and here are my favorite parts of the Hoggetowne medieval festival to check out.
Get out your royal robes, cloaks, and elf ears! Some visitors to the medieval faire look like they walked of the set of Game of Thrones and it’s so exciting to see the lengths people go to to get into character. Of course, it’s absolutely acceptable to wear whatever is comfortable, but why pass up on an opportunity to be fancy? For my first visit, I threw together a gypsy-like costume. Now, every year, I try to make something different!
If you’re looking to purchase a costume, Hoggetowne is a great place to start building up a fantastic wardrobe. Vendors offer some amazing quality items such as unique props, leather works, and weapons are available. I like to see what each of my friends are drawn to. The guys now have kilts, another has a penchant for buying swords, and I took home a monstrous eye patch to add to our collections. Some day, I swear I’ll take home a pewter goblet I’ve been eyeing them every year and someday I’ll have one so I can be the real queen of our castle (home).
Eat, drink, and be merry! I like to do so by grabbing a turkey leg and paying a visit to the local pub! Set up at either end of the event are make-shift pubs where locally brewed beer can per purchased and enjoyed with a “stinger” of honey-mead wine that creates a whole new concoction to enjoy. Specialty mugs and even a bottle of mead are also available for sale. And don’t forget, “Huzzah to the tipper!”
Hoggetowne offers a number of activities such as axe throwing, carnival games, and dragon barrel rides. My favorite activity by far is archery.
Anyone can step-up and try their hand with the bow to attack the guards of the enemy castle. With the guidance of an instructor, you too can shoot the guard of the watchtower. If your aim shoots true and you hit the knight in the head, you will receive a commemorative wooden token for your troubles. Each year offers a new token design to add to an archer’s collection.
Any medieval festival wouldn’t be the same without a collection of wild and entertaining performers. Our of our favorites includes the Birds of the Gauntlet, which is a live performance of falconers with their beautiful, trained birds of prey. Mixed in with the show is a great message about animal conservation. Visitors can stop by their tent and meet the stars up close!
Next up is the Davince Brothers. This show is led by the amazing Bob who pulls the audience in to tell a love story that’s full of shenanigans and something about a donkey. You will cry laughing.
Best for last, our caravan of friends always makes it a point to see Barely Balanced. This team of acrobats never fail to amaze with their flexibility, balance, and strength nor their ability to get a packed out audience dying with laughter. A visit to Hoggetowne without them just would not be the same.
Hoggetowne medieval faire has become a tradition! Check it out if you are in the area between the end of January and beginning of February every year. It is a chance to step away from the distractions of the modern world and visit one of history, fantasy, and fun.
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