The 29th Annual Alabama Renaissance Faire was held at the Fountain on the Green (Wilson Park) in Florence, Alabama on October 24th and 25th, 2015. This year’s two day festival was a celebration of the Italian Renaissance period. I find it entertaining to walk around Wilson Park when the faire is in town. I love seeing all the costumes, smelling the line of vendors and their tempting treats, hearing the music and laughter ring through the air, and the feeling of excitement moving through the crowd. All the enchanting regular attractions I have become accustomed to seeing were there, such as the live action sword group, belly dancers, blacksmith, and the Statuette. There was a vast array of artists, musicians, and vendors selling their wares. I want to talk about everything, but alas I shall only regale you with the highlights of my Italian Renaissance adventure.
2 Hammers and a Pick was entrancing. These lovely ladies wore authentic Victorian fashion while hammering out tunes on their Baroque era dulcimers. They played a couple of enchanting songs then showed unending patience as they answered many questions about the musical theory and nuances of playing a Hammered Dulcimer.
Sandy Armor is the owner and designer of The Armor Forge. This local resident displays tables full of fantastic weapons and pieces of armor he made. However, the big draw to this booth is the double meaning of the name Armor Forge. Sandy sets up a portable forge and spends the day chatting with fairgoers and demonstrating authentic blacksmithing techniques to the enthusiasm of onlookers. Not only does he offer quality handmade weapons and armor, but you can also watch him make these incredible works of art, making Sandy a crowd favorite. I am particularly impressed with his creativity and ability to imagine new and interesting concepts, the icepick inside a bone chopstick is going to be fantastic!
Zholdak Kozaky is the live action sword fighting group that puts on multiple shows through the weekend. Their shows are never the same because they don’t use a script. Sometimes history gets turned on its head when the wrong team wins. I love watching this local group they just get out there and have fun. However, it is obvious they spend plenty of time working together and practicing their free form fighting style.
This year I risked time in the stocks to acquire an interview with this year’s Queen of the Faire: Darlene the Learned. She was adorable and bubbled over with excitement as she gifted me a moment with the Queen.
Amy: What hast thou enjoyed most about this year’s Festival?
Queen Darlene the Learned: The fairgoers, the fun, it is educational and free, and even though we take creative liberties here and there it stays close to authenticity.
Amy: How did you become Queen of the Court (I didn’t vote for you)?
Queen Darlene: At the Renaissance Feast the week before the Faire there is a coin in one of the desserts. The lady whom finds it becomes Queen of the Court.
Amy: What here has entertained thee?
Queen Darlene: ARMA! The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts. They do extensive research on the weapons, armor, and fighting styles used in the Renaissance period. Then they share their findings and offer authentic demonstrations of period tactics.
Following the Queens advice I strolled over to visit Jeff Hansen, coordinator of The ARMA. He confirmed the Queens information was accurate and fairly thorough.
There is so much to enjoy during the Faire. My favorite part was watching the community interact. Children playing with their new renaissance era toys and practice weapons, ladies smelling the wonderful herbs and homemade soaps and lotions, and workers leaving the post office imitating the belly dancers on the way to their cars. I look forward to 2016 for the 30th Annual Renaissance Faire.
About Amy Amy Burgess is a writer who has found her home in the Shoals Area. Her chronic illness challenged her to find function in the dysfunction. Learning ways to manage has unlocked a love of research. Amy’s blog chronicles her journey to wellness. She has learned the healing benefits of taking care of herself and she challenges you to take care of yourself, because you ~>ARE<~ worth it!