If you’re looking to escape the winter chill or just trying to find new surroundings, Fort Myers, Florida is the ideal getaway location. Regardless of when you choose to visit or why, the area will deliver with memorable experiences. You’ll find some of the best and cleanest quartz based beaches on the planet here and they are just begging to be experienced and explored. Whether you're into sunbathing, fishing, sailing, diving or playing beach games, the network of pristine local beaches won't disappoint. Take a boat tour of the vibrant local wilderness and see an untouched landscape that seems like it's from prehistory. If your pace is more geared toward the indoors and/or sightseeing, Fort Myers is activity-rich in these respects as well. From the multiple museums and art exhibits, to boutique shopping and one-of-a-kind restaurants, Fort Myers has something for everyone. Being that the area is one of the top winter vacation destinations in America, you're going to find many festivals and events during the winter months. Each January, Fort Myers takes an extremely entertaining step back in time with The Riverdale Kiwanis Medieval Faire.
For over two decades now, The Riverdale Kiwanis Medieval Faire has been providing a fun and unique experience for attendees. From epic battles (simulations) between former medieval European powers, to live swordplay between skilled combatants, this is an up close and authentic look at the medieval way of life. The entertainment at the festival is performed by highly trained professionals who proudly travel the country providing authentic simulations and experiences. The food you’ll encounter here is intended to be reminiscent of the foods you’d find in the time period, including turkey legs, meat pies, and mead. This is the perfect event for the entire family because there is something for all ages. Kids will love rides, games and activities that are catered directly to them. The real attraction for the event is how it benefits children and families localy. The Kiwanis provide help, assistance, and funds to those in need. The Riverdale Kiwanis Medieval Faire uses the profits from the festival, to raise the quality of life for children and families in the Lee County area. We interviewed Sandy Wheeler, the Assistant to the Chairman of the Kiwanis Medieval Faire, to talk about this great event.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
SW: The Kiwanis Medieval Faire has been running for 21 years. Annually, we have between 12,000 and 15,000 patrons that come to our show. We’re definitely set up for families and we have something for everyone. All ages will enjoy the Kiwanis Medieval Faire and the wide range of fun activities within. It gives all the attendees the opportunity to experience the beautiful surroundings and facilities of Lakes Regional Park. The park is the ideal location for our faire and provides scenic vistas of the native wilderness. Our show is unique because it's the only charity-driven medieval faire that is presented anywhere.
RAL: What can attendees expect during a typical day at the event?
SW: As an attendee, you will see a human combat chess match depicting the epic battle between The Kingdom of Bohemia, The Kingdom of Germany, and The Kingdom of Hungary. Next will be full contact jousting with knights on warhorses charging down the field at one another. We feature continuous live entertainment, including musical, comedic, and acrobatic entertainers. We also have the world renowned-Washing Well Wenches. Our food is loosely based on things that could have been found in the Middle Ages. Some of our food includes meat pies, fruit pies, turkey legs and some middle eastern foods. We also have soda and beer, along with wine and mead available. In addition to the food, we will have a multitude of vendors, merchants and artisans selling their wares in a medieval market. Children will love all the excitement, bright colors, and especially the horse rides and games that are perfect for kids. It is a happy environment outdoors where you find entertainers interacting with patrons and everyone is smiling.
RAL: What can visitors expect to find for local lodging?
SW: Our "Inn of the Faire" this year is the Travelodge at Rt. 75 and Daniels. We do not offer accommodations as our patrons usually secure their own. We have used several hotels in the Lakes Park area in Ft. Myers. A few of the options you’ll find in the area include Homewood Suites by Hilton, Hampton Inn & Suites and Crowne Plaza Fort Myers.
RAL: What does the faire mean to the community?
SW: The Kiwanis Medieval Faire is presented to ensure that our special projects - to help local people in need - continue. The profits from the show stay local and we support programs in schools in the East Zone of Lee County including Sunshine and Lehigh Elementary, a Key Club at Riverdale that we sponsor. The Kiwanis Club of Riverdale also helps Junior ROTC at Dunbar High and other clubs. We also work with Cape Coral, East Lee, and Mariner High School Key Clubs who volunteer at the show.
Another way the faire affects the community is how it brings people together. Whether you're local or coming in from afar, this is a great event to socialize and meet new people. The extra influx of people into the community bolsters the sales of all the local business that visitors frequent.
RAL: Why should people come to The Riverdale Kiwanis Medieval Faire?
SW: People should come to the show to enjoy themselves and relax and get into the spirit of the Faire. By attending, they will help support local charity and make things better for others.
For more information about The Riverdale Kiwanis Medieval Faire, please visit their website.