Every year I say I’m going to go, but every year I don’t make it there for one reason or another. This year I promised friends (and my children) that we would absolutely go. The morning of our trek, I really didn’t feel like it. I was so tired. We’ve been so busy lately and I just wanted to stay in bed, but a promise is a promise. So I dragged myself out of bed and got ready, made plans to meet up with friends and drove about an hour north to Gainesville; specifically to an area called Hoggetown. As we approached the parking area I started to see people who were serious about this. We were coming across all kinds of costumes and all manner of people and since people watching is one of my favorite past times, I was absolutely thrilled.
Tickets were $14/adults – $7/18 and under. After getting tickets, we walked into the fair grounds, through a castle gate that had people on top yelling down welcome messages as well as insults and I was surprised at some of what they were saying, but in a good way… they were clever and funny. Walking through the “gate”, there were throngs of people, lots of them in costume, people on stilts, a harp player, a pub, vendors – there was so much to look at and I just started snapping photographs.
We started with the acrobats, Barely Balanced who put on an amazing show. Slightly naughty, hysterically funny and their strength and ability was beyond amazing. They just so happened to be completely adorable as well.
Then we walked and walked and walked and stopped to look at the beautiful things that people were selling, listened to the music from lots of different performers and even the banter of the people working the booths and the rides were very entertaining.
When we started to get hungry, there was so much food to choose from. Not just your regular festival food, but all kinds of goodies. There was Thai food, turkey legs, sandwiches, burgers, seafood and all of it looked pretty good. I opted for falafel on top of seasoned rice with Pico de gallo and hummus. It was pretty tasty, too. Everyone I was with enjoyed their food and the portions were huge. I got a Junior portion and couldn’t finish it. We ate sitting on the lawn and just people watched, enjoying all the costumes and antics.
Very close to where we sat to eat, there was jousting going on and the caller was very funny, so we went over to take a look and I have to say there was quite a bit of eye candy, ladies. Like this:
Interestingly enough, we only ran into three people we knew all day – I thought all of Ocala would be there, but they weren’t. Here are the three beauties that we did run into. Yay!
Towards the end of the day, we saw belly dancers who were headed to a show, calling out for people to follow them to the “Pub Sing”. We happily followed and I’m so glad we did – it was the highlight of the day! There was a story teller who was hysterical and a couple of musicians, singing wenches (Just Desserts -who were very bawdy and very funny!)
These gentlemen – for whom I can find no contact information – who sang my all time favorite “Black Velvet Band” – the participation version, of course.
If you know who they are, please let me know – I’d like to follow them around.
And the aforementioned Belly Dancers
You can see all 208 pictures (I took about 400, but discarded the ones that just didn’t come out well, or the ones that were duplicates. I took a LOT of the acrobats, because everything they did was amazing. I only included about half!
The Fair is happening next weekend too – (Feb.1, 2, &3) and if we didn’t have First Friday, a performance in Homossassa on Saturday and Haley’s Birthday on Sunday – I think we’d go again!
It is OK to use my photos or content provided a link back and proper crediting is given