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Kiwanis Medieval Faire set for two weekends this month

By Staff | Jan 7, 2012

Area residents and visitors are invited to step back in time and help a good cause during the 17th annual Kiwanis Medieval Faire in Fort Myers.

Hosted by the Kiwanis Club of Riverdale, the fair will be held Jan. 14-15 and Jan. 21-22 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Lakes Regional Park, located on Gladiolus Drive. The cost of admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children under 13.

Toddlers will be admitted for free, and free on-site parking will be available.

Terry Short, chairman of the event, explained that the fair serves as an annual fund-raiser for the club. The proceeds support multiple projects for children in Lee County, such as scholarships and special education programs.

“We try to keep all of our money local,” he said.

The Kiwanis came up with the idea for the fair nearly two decades ago because the economy was tough and donations were tougher to ask for.

“It was getting harder and harder to ask the local businesses to donate money for projects for the kids,” Short said.

Last year, the club raised between $75,000 and $80,000.

The goal this year is a whopping $100,000.

“We’re trying to get a few more people through the gate,” he said.

Short called the fair “inexpensive entertainment for the family.”

“It’s really a clean, wholesome day,” he said.

Twenty-one acts will perform on seven different stages. There are aerial acrobatics, jugglers, musicians, singers and more. Live jousting is scheduled for three times each day, and there will be a live chess match twice a day.

In addition to the multitude of acts, there is an interactive comedy show, along with roving “characters,” such as the king, the queen and fairies.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Short said. “Coming to the fair is, to a degree, an educational process for the kids.”

For the younger crowd, there is a games area that includes an obstacle course. There also is a handful of “people-powered” rides for children.

“We’re trying to portray what would be a village fair in the 12th or 13th century in northern Europe,” he said, adding that there was no electricity back in those times.

About 80 vendors will be selling everything from swords to clothing.

Short explained that attendees are welcome to dress up and play along. Weapons are permitted but they must be sheathed and peace-tied, which means that there must be a piece of line tying the blade to a scabbard.

Period foods will be available for purchase, including turkey legs, meat pies and “rat on a stick,” which is a mixture of beef and pork that is cooked.

Drinks range from water and soda, to beer, wine and meade. Meade is an alcoholic drink made of fermented honey that was created by the Vikings.

According to Short, approximately 14,000 people attended last year, a decrease of about 25 percent from previous years.

Lakes Regional Park is at 7330 Gladiolus Drive.

For more information about the fair, contact Terry Short at 839-8036 or visit the Kiwanis Club of Riverdale’s website at: www.medieval-faire.com.