Fifty cast members have rehearsed for three months to educate the public about the Irish Battle of Glenn Máma in the year 999, the theme of this year’s Sarasota Medieval Fair.
Dean Bowden, artistic director of the Sarasota Medieval Fair, has been participating in the fair since he was 14. He researches different historic periods and chooses a different scenario for the fair each year.
“People learn more about history. Instead of reading it in a history book, you can see it in live action in front of you and it’s easier to remember,” Bowden says.
The fair will hold a Human Combat Chess match, during which two kings will control human chess pieces. When a chess piece threatens another, a battle between the characters will ensue.
“Because we have 40 people fighting on the chess board at one time, we start out slow and we work our way up to performance speeds,” Bowden described. “It’s a tight space, and, so, you really have to be aware; we do this over and over and over again.”
In addition, the Free Lancers, a jousting group based out of Tennessee, will perform jousting matches at the fair. Children can watch shows at the Children’s Realm and meet fairies who walk around the fairgrounds.
“The best thing for me is seeing the faces on children,” Bowden said. “They really believe you are who you say you are, up to a certain age, so we try to impart some sort of moral message to the children.”
Fair-goers will also have an assortment of foods to choose from, including turkey legs, steak on stakes and Sonny’s BBQ. Artisans will be selling everything from jewelry to leather crafts.
The fair runs for two weekends: Saturday, Nov. 10 and Sunday, Nov. 11; and Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18. For more information on specific show times, visit sarasotamedievalfair.com
IF YOU GO
Sarasota Medieval Fair
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, and Sunday, Nov. 11; and Saturday, Nov. 17 and Sunday, Nov. 18
Where: Sarasota Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota
Cost: $16.95 adult; $14.95 senior, student or active military; $8.95 child