Hundreds of festival-goers dressed in floor-length, ornate gowns, gypsy skirts and pirate clothing traveled back in time for the opening weekend of the Florida Renaissance Festival in Deerfield Beach.
The festival, which opened Saturday at Quiet Waters Park and runs every weekend through March 16, includes more than 100 costumed performers, 10 stages and 20 stage acts from around the world. Each weekend also includes a special theme, such as romance, pirates and wenches.
On Sunday, the festival showcased Renaissance-themed performances such as sword-fighting demonstrations and a medieval bagpipe concert. It also included specialty vendors making handmade copper and bronze jewelry and festival-themed food and drink.
Lisa Horn and her daughter Crystal, of Pompnao Beach, attended the festival wearing blue-and-black homemade authentic Renaissance dresses that included a sir coat, a corset, a blouse and a skirt.
"The hardest part is sewing on the trim," said Horn, who has traveled to Tampa, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Alabama to attend other Renaissance festivals. But she said she considers the Deerfield festival as her "home fair."
Mallarie Georgen, of Sunrise, said she attends the event every year for the costumes, the shows and the jewelry. On Sunday, she bought a handmade, personalized fairy hair pin from custom jeweler Thomas Goodloe Jr.
"It's handmade and only $5 — you can't beat that," she said.
The busy festival also included archery demonstrations, comedy sketches, giant games of Jenga and Chess, as well as a hand-wax station for children.
Friends Victoria Maggio, 7, and Annalise Hernandez, 8, of Fort Lauderdale, patiently waited in line to have their hands dipped in wax 10 times to create a handmade wax sculpture that they could take home. Once the wax was thick enough, they dipped their hands into colored dyes to complete the sculpture.
"I decided to do all my favorites colors," said Victoria, who colored her hand sculpture in purple and green.
The festival, which is in its 22nd year in South Florida, also featured local groups such as the Maclaine Militaire School , a medieval combat school based in Margate.
The members recreate a king's military encampment and live as close as possible to how those in the Medieval ages would have lived, said head instructor Debbie Llaguno. They cook all of their food over a fire and sleep in tents, she said.
"We're a true historical encampment — we live in this time period," she said. The group does live steel contact-training demonstrations and also educates visitors about the history of the Middle Ages.
"There are a lot of assumptions about this time period," said Llaguno. "What we teach isn't hearsay."
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If you go
What: The Florida Renaissance Festival
When: Saturdays and Sundays through March 16 and Monday, Feb. 17.
Where: Quiet Waters Park, 401 S. Powerline Road, Deerfield Beach
Admission: $20, $7 for children ages 6 to 11, free for kids younger than 5. Park admission is $1.50 per person.