There is only one spot this weekend where you can converse with a troll, 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.
Come to the Alabama Renaissance Faire in Florence this weekend. You’ll love it! I promise there’s more than bellydancing there, but I can’t help bragging on my older daughter, who performs at the faire with her dance group from Huntsville. The Alabama Ren Faire is meant for families. It’s in the small downtown Wilson Park, renamed Fountain on the Green for the faire, and is very easy to get around. There’s no alcohol allowed, and everyone is friendly and helpful. And it’s free! You can come in costume or not. Everything has a Renaissance flair. Vendors selling jewelry, art work and crafts are in costume and all entertainment is Renaissance-style, with juggling, magic, singing and other music as well as bellydancing. The faire is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Check out http://www.alarenfaire.org/ and http://www.myspace.com/alrenfaire for details and other photos.
October is Renaissance month in Florence, Alabama, and the highlight of the month is the Alabama Renaissance Faire, Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 25-26, in downtown Florence’s Wilson Park — a can’t-miss family-friendly adventure. A prelude to the faire is the Renaissance Feast, held the weekend before. It’s a chance to dress up and pretend it’s 500 years ago, from eating authentic feast-type food to bowing before royalty as they enter the banquet hall. The best part for me is the entertainment, because for the past couple years my daughter’s bellydance troupe from Nomadic Tapestry Movement and Music Studio, in Huntsville, Alabama, has performed there. And once again this year they did a fantastic job. They always look as if they’re having so much fun dancing and sharing their love of dancing with audiences. I had a great time hanging out with my daughter (she’s the one in the middle of the photo) and the other dancers and musicians at the feast. Check out the studio at www.nomadictapestry.com — there’s a full schedule of classes and other events all year long. The dancers and musicians will perform again this coming weekend at the Renaissance Faire. But that’s not the only reason to come to the faire! It truly is a family event. It’s small and easy to get around, no alcohol is allowed, admission is free and education is a key element. You’ll find exhibits, art, crafts, your favorite festival food (deep-fried Snickers for me), period enterainment plus incredibly costumed characters roaming around. You’ll meet a troll, fairies, wizards, princes and princesses, monks, knights — all sorts of folks. Visit the Web site at http://www.alarenfaire.org/ to learn more and youtube.com (search “Alabama Renaissance Faire”) to see more.