The Dark Ages have never looked so good.
Organizers of the Sarasota Medieval Fair, which starts this weekend and continues every Saturday and Sunday until Nov. 20, say that this year’s event will be funnier, more dramatic and tastier than the festival has ever been before.
That’s saying a lot, because the festival has been delighting crowds for the past 12 years.
A medieval village — this year, set specifically, in 1099 — springs up in the Ringling Woods at the Sarasota Fairgrounds every year about this time. It takes crews several weeks to set up the stages, shops, rides and games that make up the village.
It’s an impressive sight for people who have never attended this event, or any of the Renaissance festivals that spring up around the country. And people who enjoy the Sarasota Medieval Fair every year will notice several new structures this time.
You’re welcome to just come and observe, and experienced actors and other entertainers will be there. But if you’re feeling a bit whimsical, you can join in the fun more actively by wearing a period costume of your own. You can probably buy some old-timey clothes at the fair and change into costume during the day.
It’s a family event, so it includes plenty of activities for everyone from the kids to the grown-ups. There’s bawdy humor, a children’s realm that will be home to story times, costume dress-up and a play area, and of course live jousting, which is always a centerpiece of these anachronistic events, and lots of food (turkey legs are a perennial favorite) and alcoholic beverages and will be available.
Details: Nov. 5-20, Sarasota Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Tickets: $17.95 adults, $15.95 students, seniors, military, $8.95 children 5-12. Season pass $52.95. Information: 888-303-3247, sarasotamedievalfair.com.