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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Day Trippin': Ye Olde Medieval Faire

Middle school maidens get into ye olde role playing

DaytripLOGOEDITORS NOTE: GLOB Communications Director Tonya Marie Upton is a feature writer, and the GLOB's Day Tripper Gainesville escape artist.  Tonya relocated to North Florida last year and is enjoys discovering Florida in day trip adventures.

Picking up where GLOB Staffer Molly Larmie left off of at last year's Gainesville Lunch Out Blog coverage of the 2012 Hoggetowne Medieval Faire, this correspondent's mission would also be: Eat my first turkey leg.

That will be among many firsts for me today at this ye olde event as I have never attended a Medieval Faire, but my first order of Faire business was to find a turkey leg.  Really, how hard can that be?

My fellow companions for this day of first-ever role playing, sword swinging, and ye olde frivolity were my daughter Kendall and her friend Vivi, who presently are snickering behind me as we walk through the  Alachua County Fair Grounds Parking Lot. We can't see the Faire just yet, but the kids spy some people dressed in Ye Olde costumes of the day, and I'm guessing these two middle-schoolers are too cool for this kind of play acting.

I think to myself that this is going to be fun.  Those of you who have had the pleasure of raising children in middle school can appreciate my upcoming expected pleasure.  I decide to aggravate the situation, stir the pot a little with an obvious obversation:

"Say, you guys should have dressed up," I suggest with disappointment to the girls.

"No way, not us," was the shocked pre-teen surprised response in unison to my remark.


After a little walk through the parking area, into and out of the trees, we came into an open clearing that swept us back into the days of yore. Kendall and Vivi instantly became part of the mystical world in front of them and took off running to the tournament field where knights were jousting on war horses (right).

At that moment I knew my mission to eat a turkey leg was going to have to wait. The crowd in front of us was excited and lively as all eyes were big and glued on the knights in full armor racing towards each other on ye olde war horses.

Looking to my left I see the girls have left their better judgment behind, journeying back in time to become up-close-and personal with the days of yore market scene in front of them.

My stomach was reminding me it's way past lunchtime, and this fair maiden needed to eat. After several minutes of appreciating man and steed jousting about, we set off to the canopied food stands, in search of three serious-looking turkey legs.

Don't ask me how, it must have been merriment overtaking the courtyard, but I missed the turkey leg stand and ended up amongst many people and surrounded by tents.


Large tents, small tents filled with so many fun things to do the girls forgot we were hungry. With their hands out for money and chatter about riding war horses, throwing tomatoes, and getting henna body art, they became completely immersed in the days of Camelot.

In all fairness I was feeling the sense of the round table lore and gallant knights as well. I asked a gallant joust-man if he could direct us to the nearest turkey wing cooker and he pointed back over my shoulder in the direction from whence we came.

I gathered my fair maidens, uh girls, and told them we must eat and then they could continue on with their quest for medieval adventure.

013013ThrowMATOSI also explained the thrill they should expect of single handedly mauling their very own turkey leg for lunch. Kendall and Vivi liked the idea of going barbarian and 'maiden-handling' a big, fat hunk of a turkey leg dark meat. After all they were still angry with the carney guy they were hurling tomatoes at. Apparently he did a good job provoking my maidens because they were prepared to throw down more money to purchase more tomato ammo to continue splashing at the object of their animosity.

So there we are, the three of us and our growling tummies, with extra large turkey legs in our hands.



I must admit there is something weird about devouring Tom Turkey's naked appendage. But I'm starving, and I am finally embracing this whole medieval, dark meat munch out thing and I take my first bite.

The girls take their first bite as well.

There was an extended silence among us fair maidens.

So we all tried a second bite of tendons, fat, juicy, skin covered gobbler feast.

Nary a comment was heard from the girls.

I take another bite out of necessity, I am really hungry, as I search their faces for an expression, an indicator of what they think about this animal like approach to lunch.

There is till no comment from my peanut crowd.

So I make the necessary confession, "You know this eating like animals really is not my thing," I say with a look of sour unhappiness. "I'm not enjoying eating this. . . turkey leg at all."

A look of relief flashes across Kendall's and Vivi's faces.

"Yeah it's not my thing either, " Vivi said, meanwhile Kendall was looking for a waste can to quickly dispose of her lunch.

That was when we decided to pacify our tummies with funnel cake instead and I have to say all fair maiden expressions and sounds of delight indicated we were all very happy to make that lunch time menu trade.



We ventured through the mythical medieval land that we now feel so much a part of and became captured by the Barely Balanced Comedy Acrobatics. This comedic troupe of talented artists was hilarious, strong, and very talented.

Their acrobatic antics kept the audience engaged and laughing with spectacular gymnastic like routines.

On our way through the market we made many stops to entertain ourselves from elephants rides to riding recklessly in a giant swinging barrel where a big man gave everyone pushes.



I opted to stay connected by watching carefully. The girls became completely involved and participated in all the authentic medieval fun.

Skillfully meandering through the market place was the tricky part. Not only did I find something interesting to view and to buy at every tent, Kendall and Vivi had ideas of their own about their medieval role playing.

The middle school maidens said they needed authentic cloaks, swords, things to put in their hair, horns, jewelry, and clothing that looks very much like what people were wearing on our way in, that they were so opposed to wearing.

Now they were begging to have their own fair maiden outfit and wanted to come back to wear them next week.  The maidens were now inspired by days of olde and were eager to find out more information on this unique time period as they googled knighthood, knights, and turkey leg feasts on their iphones in the car as we drove back to our modern day reality.

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