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Bay Area Renaissance Festival kicks off at MOSI

“Queen Catherine” and other characters entertain at the festival.

Special to the Times

“Queen Catherine” and other characters entertain at the festival.

Organizers of the annual Bay Area Renaissance Festival expect hungry hordes to descend on Tampa starting this weekend. And they'll be ready for them. About 30,000 pounds of turkey legs have been ordered for the festival, which runs for seven weekends, through April 5.

While the turkey legs are a returning favorite — along with jousting, music, fairies and a marketplace like no other — there are new attractions as well. This year, Lady Mesmer brings a unique hypnotist show, and Acrobellum, an "acro-balancing" group, will stroll the festival village, stopping to stack themselves into different shapes. "We try new things in front of the guests all the time," founder Levi Landry says. "They motivate us to improvise right on the spot."

The festival kicks off with a Highland Fling theme Saturday and Sunday, including a Scottish village, Highland games and dancers and a kilt competition.

Themes for the other weekends are Wine, Chocolate and Song, Feb. 28-March 1; A Silk Road: Discover the Riches, March 7-8; Shamrocks & Shenanigans, March 14-15; Italian Masters, March 21-22; High Seas Adventures, March 28-29; and Spanish Expeditions, April 4-5.

The Bay Area Renaissance Festival takes place at Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry, 4801 E Fowler Ave. Village gates open at 10 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. Tickets are $16.95 for adults, $8.95 for ages 5 to 12 and free for ages 4 and younger. Parking is free. Toll-free 1-800-779-4910;

Times staff writer

Bay Area Renaissance Festival kicks off at MOSI 02/18/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 11:27am]
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