Renaissance Faire

Alabama Renaissance FaireThere is only one spot this weekend where you can converse with a Renaissance Fairetroll, dine on a roasted turkey leg and be presented to royalty: The Alabama Renaissance Faire in downtown Florence. And, why, you may ask, does Florence host the official Alabama Renaissance Faire? Well, for one thing, Ferdinand Sannoner, an Italian who helped surveyed the town in 1818, named it after Firenze, the beautiful Italian Renaissance city built around the River Arno just as the present-day Florence is situated on the Tennessee River. And for another, this is Ren Faire Alabama-family-style. There’s no drinking and no R-rated entertainment. You can bring both your grandmother and your grandchildren here without fear of embarrassment. In fact, education is a major part of the faire. Throughout October (and really all year long), Ren Faire volunteers visit local schools and give programs on life in Renaissance times. There are art, sonnet and chess contests for students, and high-schoolers get to help out at the faire for extra credit. Plus, the Faire is free, it’s in a small confined space — downtown’s Wilson Park, turned into the Fountain-on-the-Green for the duration — and it’s full of child-friendly crafts, food and fun. If you’ve ever shied away from a Ren Faire because you envisioned drunken pirates and way-too-buxom maidens running around, then this is the place you need to be — 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 24 and noon to 6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 25. Go to http://www.alarenfaire.org/ for more info on the Alabama Renaissance Faire.