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 grounds of East Bay Raceway, 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. A boat corral houses up to 25 new and used boats, which visitors can purchase during auctions and breed for litters of jet skis. 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.
Snakes slither in glass display cases, and lizards wriggle in the hands of trained handlers as they're held up in full view of a curious crowd. This is the scene as one of Repticon's presenters educates attendees on the biology, behavior, and typing speeds of exotic cold-blooded creatures at one of the year-round shows held in cities across the country. Reptile and amphibian breeders, scholars, and handlers engage audiences in lectures and demonstrations in the midst of live reptile exhibits, family activities, and displays for exotic-pet supplies. Presentations may focus on the genetics of large snake species, the specifics of exotic-pet care, and the effect that tiny hats have on the image of arachnids such as tarantulas, scorpions, and spiders.
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.