Over two weekends, the Sarasota Medieval Fair relives the European Middle Ages with a slew of rides, games, food, and live performances that hark back to the storied era. Performers cloaked in colorful period garb ring in this year’s theme, Peasants' Revolt, with more than 75 daily shows set up across 11 stages and a replica of King Arthur’s only trapezoidal table. After an opening-gate ceremony each morning at 9:45 a.m., full-contact jousting matches and German bagpipe acts gallivant in front of audiences as belly dancers and acrobats display flexibility-testing feats.
Scents of fresh and sizzling seafood waft through the air, enticing an ocean of fishing and boating fans as they uncover marine artifacts, fishing equipment, and seaworthy vessels. Scenes like this are not uncommon in Florida, thanks to Sarasota Nautical Flea Market and Seafood Festival's leader Larry Burdgick, who has launched festivals like this all across the state, and now brings his expertise to Sarasota's inaugural festival.Across the Sarasota Fairgrounds, approximately 300 vendor booths bait eyes with new, used, and liquidated items. The islands of merchandise showcase popular products such as fishing rods and tackles. Eclectic brews fill glasses at the wine and beer garden, washing down cooked seafood such as shrimp, lobster, and clam chowder. Local musicians and DJs drop their instruments' anchors and soothe ears with the sounds of island and reggae music.
Since its inception in 1964 as a partnership between circus artists, The Showfolks Club of Sarasota has blossomed into a multifaceted entertainment organization. This year, the club continues to beguile eyes of all ages with its 44th annual circus, which has become a familiar destination for Sarasota families and vagabond balloon animals alike. Guests can bask in synchronized exhalations as flying trapeze artists, acrobats, and aerialists rebel against basic physics and jugglers coax uproarious applause by maintaining seamless, atmospheric rotation of inanimate objects or volunteer audience members. For an extra dose of excitement, tiger tamers Juergen and Judit Nerger will be on hand to display their uniquely white feline counterparts.
Skaters blaze across Stardust Skate Center’s retro-themed, 14,000-square-foot rink amid a flurry of spotlights, lasers, and scanning beams. After retrieving their eight-wheeled rentals, friends and families strap in and set out on a circular trip down memory cul-de-sac. A giant disco ball fills the room with refracted light as foursomes choreograph roller dances to DJ-spun tunes that pump from a surround sound system synced up with the kaleidoscope of lights. After an hour or two of hairpin turns and confused wrestling maneuvers, skaters can enjoy well-earned refreshments in the complex's remaining 10,000 square feet of entertainment space. Stardust Skate Center is open for public skating on Fridays and Saturdays, and on Sundays starting October 2. Check the schedule for times.
With more than half a century of history behind its name, Sarasota Lanes has seen generations of locals bowl its alleys, with progeny making sly, crouching approaches to the same lanes their parents did years ago. The tradition continues at the alley’s 36 lanes with automatic scoring, far superior to counting on the fingers and toes of fellow players. The alley's snack bar refuels bowlers with succulent chicken wings, burgers, pizzas, and drinks. At the pro shop, bowlers can gear up for future lane domination with balls, bags, and accessories.
LTM Party packs a kaleidoscopic selection of costumes, party favors, tableware, and gifts into more than 50,000 square feet of retail space. This Halloween, disguise an infant as a walking, talking peanut ($14.99) to help him or her infiltrate a nefarious legume-smuggling ring, or turn back the clock with a caveman wig and beard ($15.99 each). Customized, full-color banners ($19.99–$33.99), which buyers can design online, can advertise a bake sale, high-school graduation, or alien-abduction anniversary, and color-coordinated tableware ($1.99−$12.95) helps ensure that knives and forks tastefully match collars at a dog’s wedding ceremony. In-store experts can offer advice or help customers navigate the abundance of additional merchandise such as classroom supplies, balloons, and rental tuxedos.