There's never a shortage of festivities in the Bradenton area, but the weeks ahead offer a dizzying array of fairs and festivals of all sorts.
Whether your tastes run toward anachronistic sports and entertainment, to homegrown visual and performing arts, to the freshest seasonal seafood or to the latest in world cinema, there's an indoor or outdoor festival coming up that should suit your tastes.
Here's a look at some of the biggest and best of our area's annual festivals.
Sarasota Medieval Fair
The annual Sarasota Medieval Fair will be 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and continues Nov. 15-16 and 22-23 featuring historical scenarios complete with battle re-enactments, artisan market place with more than 100 merchants, worldly foods to try and entertainers that will impress every age from juggling, to sword fighting, mud slinging and washing well wenches. Lances will shatter at the full contact joust, while the lanes will be filled with improv players telling the story of 955 A.D. Germany in the recreation of the Battle of Lechfield,
Tickets: $16.95 adults, $14.95 students and seniors, students must show ID and seniors must be older than age 55, $8.95 children ages 5-12, children ages 4 and younger are admitted free. The Sarasota County Fairgrounds are at 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. Information: 888-303-3247 or sarasotamedievalfair.com.
Anna Maria Island 'ArtsHOP'
The arts will be celebrated with the eighth annual ArtsHOP weekend Friday through Sunday, featuring a gallery art walk from 5-8 p.m. Friday around Anna Maria and Holmes Beach with more than 15 participating art galleries and retail locations.
Many art walk locations will offer refreshments, prize drawings, art demonstrations, live music and artists encounters.
The Island Players of Anna Maria will present "Murderers" 8 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday, the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra will present "Symphony on the Sand," 4:30-7:30 p.m. Saturday at Coquina Gulfside Park, 2650 Gulf Drive S.
An arts and crafts festival will be held at the Holmes Beach City Hall Field and the Bridge Street Merchants will host the Bridge Street Art Walk in conjunction with their regular weekly market 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.
For a detailed schedule and information: 941-795-2370 or islandartshop.com.
Stone Crab Festival
The annual Stone Crab Festival will begin at noon Saturday and Sunday featuring boat loads of fresh stone crab, local artisans, games for kids, pony rides and more in Cortez Fishing Village, 119th St. W., Cortez.
Live music will be on three stages, featuring Razing Cane, Brandi and The Ride, The Bobby G Band, Karen and The Big Bad Wolves and Eric Von Hammond on Saturday. Twinkle, Ted Stevens and the Doo Shots, Reid Frost and Doug Deming on Sunday. Proceeds will benefit Fishing for Freedom.
Information: 941-798-2035 or swordfishgrillcortez.com.
Cine-World Film Festival
The Bradenton area is home to several film festivals, from major ones with national implications to fledgling festivals with a specialized focus. One of the oldest, largest and most prestigious is the Cine-World Festival, which opens its 10-day run on Friday.
This year's festival includes three dozen films, from the acclaimed documentaries "Regarding Susan Sontag" and "Sur le Chemin de l'Ecole" to the new drama "Little Accidents" starring Elizabeth Banks.
Most films have multiple screenings, at either the Burns Court Cinema or the Lakewood Ranch Cinemas.
Tickets for most individual films are $12.50. Festival passes are available for $115-$420. Sarasota Film Society members get discounts. Call 941-364-8662 or go to filmsociety.org for details.
Marty Clear, features writer/columnist, can be reached at 941-708-7919. Follow twitter.com/martinclear.