A venue for local artisans

 W - 27th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval FaireLocal artisans joined performers in celebrating the 27th annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire in Gainesville.

HIGH SPRINGS – While some artisans, actors, dancers, acrobats and performers traveled from locations throughout the United States to participate in the production of the 27th Annual Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, others only made a short commute from local communities.

The event, produced by the City of Gainesville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department and sponsored by several local businesses, converged at the Alachua County Fairgrounds in Gainesville, for what is touted as “Two Magical Weekends,” Jan. 26-27 and Feb. 1-3, 2013, to bring to life characters, games, entertainment and garb from the days of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable to educate and entertain visitors.

And visitors there were aplenty. The Alachua County Fairgrounds was transformed into a bustling medieval marketplace as troupes of actors, street performers and musicians journeyed back in time. Faire Coordinator Linda Piper said “the event is one of the largest in this county.”

While many participants were from elsewhere, some were local. One such artisan was Alachua resident Kristin Thorson, who offered her Bronze Age copper sculptures and fountains for sale at her booth, Bronze Age Studios. A former jewelry designer with a critical eye for detail, Thorson learned to work with larger metal pieces and has not looked back since. The sound of trickling water from various sized fountain sculptures, butterfly garden stakes and copper roses helped create one of the most tranquil relaxing booths at the faire.

Hawthorne based Jeff and Cindy Kruger of Spotted Pony Traders offered a variety of items from leather and frontier clothing to buckskin dresses, beads, leather-working tools, hand painted feathers, small animal skulls and buffalo robes.

Providing human powered, non-mechanical rides was ride designer/builder, Ray St. Louis of Alachua-based Flying Dragon Attractions. Since the 1980s, he and a small crew of workers have participated in renaissance and medieval faires. “We do about seven or eight events per year,” he said, “and travel as far north as upstate New York and as far west as Louisiana.”

All participants were decked out in period clothing and spoke in the manner of ladies and gentlemen of yore. It was a feast for the eyes, ears and taste buds as a number of local food vendors and entertainers joined in the merriment of the eclectic marketplace.

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