Renaissance Faire: a comparison

Trenedy Parks, Staff Writer

Every third weekend in October, you can find lute players as well as turkey legs and costumed royalty at the annual Alabama Renaissance Faire in Florence’s Wilson Parks. Organized and hosted entirely by local volunteers, the faire is Alabama’s official Renaissance event. This year’s faire was Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22-23.

The Renaissance was a time in European history to return to the classics: art, history, and to focus on the human as a whole. When looking at traditional Renaissance faires, this is very apparent. Florence’s faire is a bit different. This seemed less Renaissance and more like just another reason for the people of Florence to gather. 

At your traditional Renaissance Faire, you’ll have many bards and lute players, as well as kings and queens running about. The Tennessee Renaissance Festival has many Renaissance-era activities and booths. The food booths have traditional and accurate food and the vendors have merchandise that fits the theme. The Tennessee festival also has a castle you can tour while you are there. 

Even though a castle is not feasible in Florence, the faire here still could have been a bit more on theme. Some vendors fit the theme with what they presented, with weapons and handcrafted items and art that seemed to fit into the era. Others just used it as another time to show off their work — even if it is not Renaissance.  

Often, at events like these, you will see spectators really get into it by dressing up in costumes and dresses. Even fairies were popular at some of the others I have been to – which I still do not entirely understand. Though at the Alabama Renaissance Faire, spectators were dressed up, many appropriately, but others were just there in a random costume. I saw Deadpool, too (I didn’t know he was your average Medici apprentice)! 

Not everything was off-kilter, though. The entertainment of bards, skits and musical interludes on corners of Wood Street were very on brand. They were funny, and the music was good. The acting was great, and it gave a glimpse into theatre of the time! 

Though they were not on theme the vendors did have really high quality and cool stuff. Items such as crystal sculptures and more medieval than Renaissance weapons were just some of the many items that caught my eye.. All in all, it was a fun experience, though I prefer the castle and the turkey legs.