For the weekend of January 4 and 5, the polo grounds transform into the Renaissance-era Village of Hopewell for The Villages Renaissance Faire. Down the dusty roads, vendors sell jewelry and wooden crafts, sword fighters entertain in a comedy show, and King Henry VIII enjoys a rousing joust. Throughout the day, patrons can also fill their stomachs with hearty fair foods, including massive roasted-turkey legs.
A famous tautologist once said that nothing pairs better with a crawfish festival than crawfish. This thought-provoking maxim is an apt summation of the Ocala Crawfish Fest, an annual celebration of Louisiana-style cooking and live music. In an interview with Ocala.com, festival organizer Deb Cone described the event as an opportunity to combine kids-education fundraising efforts with casual, laid-back fun. As she put it, “We wanted to do something for the entire community where you don't have to dress up.” Attendees can throw down blankets or lawn chairs and kick back to musical stylings that are as Cajun as the cuisine that is being served up, all while reveling in the knowledge that their merriment is helping the independent education facility Hale Academy.
In an effort to banish the long waiting lines and spread-out obstacles of other mud runs, the organizers of Armageddon Ambush, The Extreme Mud Run, have designed a fun and unique competition that is extreme and unpredictable with more than 15 professionally constructed obstacles built by licensed contractors, including climbing walls and tire pits. To keep things unpredictably colorful, they also set up powdered color ambushes throughout the course. An after-party with beer, food, and live music offers participants an opportunity to dance off the mixture of mud and paint, a much more fun alternative to showering and a much safer one than rolling around on a cop's freshly washed squad car. (However, washing off is also available.)
At The Ultimate Painter Art Gallery, kids and adults take to the canvas fueled by inspiration and expert guidance. The studio provides all the essentials?a canvas, brush, and selection of paints?leaving everything accounted for except your imagination, which can manifest its wildest visions onto a canvas to take home and hang over the pet door just to mess with your dog. On top of that, the staff offers painting services that can turn any home into a beautiful work of art: wainscoting, marble finishing, metallics, and bright sea-sponge texture work, to name a few.
S.T.A.R.S was organized to coordinate community donations of back-to-school supplies for a few hundred elementary school students in need in 2003. Then middle and high schools were included, adding thousands to the list of recipients. Today it is well over 14,000 students receiving supplies.
Situated on the scenic shores of Lake Eola, Jammin Food and Rum Fest brings together delectable snacks paired with rum drinks from all over the world. As guests take sips at rum tastings, they also drink in the sounds of live DJs and radio personalities conducting meet-and-greets across the park's grassy expanses. Other festive activities include contests, giveaways, and interactive games, such as pin the tail on the rum cask.