In an act that might be better named Wheel of Defying Death, Ichabod Wainwright jumps up and down three stories off the ground as he performs his wheel walking act. Yes, he really is that high without a harness, safety net or possibly his sanity!
Saturday began the seven-weekend run of the Bay Area Renaissance Festival 2013 , near MOSI in north Tampa. The event is in its 35th year and features several new acts, food and activities, all set in a recreation of a 16th-century village. Themes change each weekend, with the first one being Wine, Chocolate & Romance! Entertainment involves live warhorse jousting, human chess matches, washing well wenches and so much more.
Maxwell Danes after his jousting match holding his lance.
Oldsmar residents Penny and Patrick Howard, left, with their friend Nicole Catino dressed the part for the fest. Penny is a belly dancer and Patrick made his costume the night before. Lots of the people attending Ren Fest dress in period costumes. Some come back every weekend just to dress the part. So, break out your best 16th-century garb and show up. If you don't have any, you can buy it there.
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Trista Adlerbert and Natavia Gossagel, both 16, were in the front row for the Mud Pit show. Dan Fox and Todd Hibbler, the Splatter Time Players, try to make up for mudding the girls afterwards. I guess they are too young to have ever been to a Gallagher show. If you go to the mud pit, you may want to stay back a few rows!
Most of the stage shows involve audience participation. The Demzarrah Gypsies volunteered Comacho from the crowd to help out with their act. I think the idea for the entire festival is to come and have a great time and leave your inhibitions at home.
Yep! That is two volunteer dudes from the audience wearing bras and pulling the crotch strap to a straitjacket for Johnny Pheonix. Crazy fun!
Todd Hibbler, left, and Dan Fox take a bow after their finale dive in to the mud pit. It was Hibbler's first day and second show on the job. He said he is thrilled to be a part of the festival.
One of the new attractions at this year's Renaissance Festival is the MerBellas Live Mermaid show in the newly constructed Mermaid Grotto. This husband-and-wife team of Raven and Tyler Sutter have been doing their act together for four years.
Rat Pucking is a predecessor to modern golf according to Emrys Fleet, one of the organizers of the activity. If Angantav Carlson (pictured) reaches the goal first by pucking his rat with the fewest strokes, he becomes the "Lucky Pucker" of the round. No animals were harmed (or used) for the game!
There are a lot of roaming performers as well. Ken Toomer juggled several crystal balls while standing high on a tree stump.
Speaking of stumps, Scott Andre calls himself The Plant Guy. Like many of the performers at the Renaissance Festival he works for tips (jokingly called the hedge fund) given by festivalgoers who pose for pictures with him.
The first weekend's theme, the 6th Annual Wine, Chocolate & Romance celebration, involved an entire section of the festival grounds called Piper's Valley, dedicated to wine sampling and sweet treats. The fun stuff included a chocolate pie eating contest, wine tasting from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the first annual Queen's Cupcake Wars Award. Cupcakes were judged on both taste and decoration. Contestants needed to create three unique Renaissance-themed cupcakes.The winners were announced by Queen Catherine
Cupcakes baked by Sweet 12 were on display prior to the Cupcake Wars Awards.
JoAnne from Riverview and Dawn from South Carolina enjoy the wine tasting event.
Strawberries are freshly dipped by Kera Brewster, store manager of Godiva chocolates in Tampa.
There are several events going on until 6 p.m.
Cheers! If you make it to the end of the day you can attend the Renaissance Smoker at 5 p.m. For $15 patrons get two cigars, two beers, and chicken wings. The Bawdy Boys, a trio of slightly raunchy comedians, entertain.
The Renaissance Festival runs on weekends through April 7 plus Friday, March 22, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., rain or shine!. Gate admission tickets are $18.95 for adults, and $10.95 for children 5- 12. Children under four are admitted free. You can buy advance admission tickets for $15.95 for adults, and $7.95 for children at Walgreens, Circle K, and other participating retailers.
Plan to spend the day. There's lots to eat and drink with shows and entertainment all day long.