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Monday, February 26, 2024

Colorful crowds attend medieval fair in Gainesville

<p>Richard Crew plays the violin underneath a maypole at the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire on Sunday. Crew is part of the Greenwood Morris dance group, a group that organizes dances and plays under the maypole. He said he has been playing the violin and attending various medieval fairs for about 20 years.</p>

Richard Crew plays the violin underneath a maypole at the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire on Sunday. Crew is part of the Greenwood Morris dance group, a group that organizes dances and plays under the maypole. He said he has been playing the violin and attending various medieval fairs for about 20 years.

Off in the distance, a trumpet sounded. A man dressed colorfully in yellow, red and blue fluttered through the crowd on stilts.

Shops with names like St. George’s Dragon Orphanage and Ye Olde Wizards and Dragons lined a long dirt road. From their stores, vendors sold crowns, shields, swords and wands.

This is a glimpse into the 27th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire that took place this weekend at the Alachua County Fairgrounds in northeast Gainesville.

“Our community loves the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire,” said Linda Piper, events coordinator for the City of Gainesville Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs. “The Medieval Faire has one of the best reputations in the South, so people come from all over.”

Piper said about 140 volunteers helped run the event, while about 160 artisans sold different goods, ranging from incense sticks to candles. In addition, nearly 100 entertainers performed on eight stages, which included knights jousting and reenactors fighting.

Among the attendees dressed as fairies, knights and princesses, Kent Brush shouted at people from his store, The Roasted Nut House, telling them about his selection of nuts.

“Nuts, nuts, nuts,” he said to passers-by, “gotta come get some nuts.”

Brush, 45, said he sold all kinds of nuts, from almonds to cinnamon-roasted to “old, redneck, completely insane nuts.”

Brush got involved in the fair through the Society for Creative Anachronism and has attended the event for 25 years.

“I love to be a freak among freaks and not be labeled anything else,” he said.

David Buth, 47, is a 20-year veteran of the festival. This year, he dressed up as an orc named Agog. His costume consisted of a movie-grade latex mask, colored contacts, a black tunic, chain armor, black gloves, a spear, shackles and a pair of boots. All together, it took him about 30 minutes to put on his costume.

Next year, he hopes to be a magician for the fair, creating illusions for attendees.

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Lindsay Stewart, a 24-year-old self-described “professional elf,” sold costume accessories from a booth, transforming several humans to elves with simple sets of elf ears.

Stewart said she travels across the country attending Renaissance festivals. Saturday’s event was her second year at Hoggetowne.

“It’s a cute little fair,” she said. “It’s nice and small and has a lot of action.”

Richard Crew plays the violin underneath a maypole at the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire on Sunday. Crew is part of the Greenwood Morris dance group, a group that organizes dances and plays under the maypole. He said he has been playing the violin and attending various medieval fairs for about 20 years.

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