Ye old annual faire is back! After a great start to the two-weekend event, the annual Riverdale Kiwanis Medieval Faire continues on the grounds of Lakes Regional Park, 7330 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers, Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 18 and 19, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The high-quality medieval entertainment provided by Riverdale Kiwanis is always unsurpassed in authenticity and professionalism. Several acts, musical groups and performers show their Medieval flair, all who travel the country, and are seen at only the biggest medieval shows.
"The first weekend of the faire went extremely well. We had about 8,300 people make it out, about average for opening weekend, and everyone had a great time. The food was excellent, the entertainment was excellent. Everyone really enjoyed themselves. We are truly honored to provide you with the best medieval entertainers in the United States," said Terry Short, chairman of the Medieval Faire, past Kiwanis president and Kiwanian for 23 years.
Upon the faire opening every morning, all guests are greeted by the royal families and their Renaissance entourage, from the kings King Llewellyn and King Frankl right down to the jesters and hand maidens, and everyone in between.
"You really feel like you've stepped into another time period," Terry said. "Many royalties are very difficult to approach. Not our royalties. Our royalties are very easy to approach."
Little faire-going princesses are given special necklaces, and young princes are knighted by the kings.
"Last weekend we had quite a few knightings of young knights," he laughed.
Entertainment is continuous each day of the faire, from jugglers, magicians and minstrels to live combat chess matches, live sword fighting and roving medieval musicians. The family-friendly faire has something for everyone rides and the games, merchants and vendors and plenty of live entertainment. Terry gives you just a taste of what to look forward to at the faire.
"We have a great jousting match, a wonderful live chess match. The Well Wenches put on a great show. There is fantastic music all day long from groups like The Craic and other extremely talented musical acts," he said. "There are fire-eaters, magicians, the Bunnies in Peril (Magic and Mayhem), Johnny Phoenix, The DaVinci Brothers (with Bubba DaVinci, Leonardo's younger, dumber brother), and, of course Pookie the Fairy, who walks around handing out good luck stones and necklaces to the children. They have to learn the happy dance in order to receive one."
Take your chance at the ax-, knife- and star-throwing booths, or cool off at one of the most popular kid's attractions there
"The Balloon Catapult, everyone loves the Balloon Catapult, whether it's kids against kids or kids against their parents," Terry laughed, as he explained the water-balloon-toss setup and how it's a great way to cool off in the warmer afternoons.
During several times of the day, take in a good professional jousting match, an ancient and time-honored tradition, with the New Riders of the Golden Age (WarHorse.com), as knights show their talent of spearing apples, lancing rings and knocking each other off of their big, beautiful, armor-clad war horses. And, who knows what else can ensue on the Medieval battlefield. You'll just have to swing by to see!
What's a faire without the food? You can't forget to enjoy the delcious Rennaisance-period food, like enormous turkey legs, meats-on-a-stick, and meade plenty of meade!
Between special acts, stroll the dozens upon dozens of archaic vendors, merchants and artisans, offering anything from clothing, crafts, crowns and collectibles to jewelry, dragon-age items, magical curios and musical instruments. Tarot readers, psychics and mystics are available for readings.
You might even be lucky and catch a good game of rat-pucking, with King Llewellyn as the "important hole" to puck the rat near.
"Rat pucking. It's a very serious sport," Terry said. "When you were dying of starvation in the Middle Ages, most of the commentating was done by village criers, so the peasants, who had plenty of sticks and dead rats on hand, developed a game called 'rat pucking.' The object of the game is to puck rats as close to the hole (or king, in this instance) as you can. This game later became known as golf, replaced with balls and clubs, and now played by doctors."
See? You just never know what you're going to see, hear and interact with at the Riverdale Kiwanis' Medieval Faire.
Roaming fiddlers, harpists, strolling flower girls and even some acrobats! One minute you're perusing a merchant's tent looking at the fabulous merchandise. The next minute, a belly-dancing quartet is shimmying, shaking and contorting two feet away!
"Even if you were at the fair the first weekend, there is so much to see, it's impossible to see it all in one day or two, for that matter. You can show up at 9 a.m., leave at 6 p.m. and still only see three-quarters of the entertainment, there's so much going on. Come on out for the second weekend and do it all over again," Terry said. "It's all in good fun, and all proceeds of the faire are used for charity work with the Riverdale Kiwanis Foundation, which is all about helping local children.
Tickets are available on the grounds of the faire at $15 for adults 12 and up, $5 for children 5 to 11, and children (and trolls) are free! No pets are allowed on the site, and there is no charge to park on the site.
For further information on the annual Riverdale Kiwanis Medieval Faire and all the group does for the local community, visit Medieval-Faire.com.