Renaissance Faire offers community experience

The Renaissance Faire is known for its food, music and rich culture.

The Faire will be held Oct. 25 and 26 at Wilson Park in Florence.

“The Renaissance era was the rebirth of all the arts and philosophy and literature, so it was perfect,” said Billy Warren, chairman of the Florence Renaissance Faire. “Florence, Alabama was laid out by an Italian surveyor in 1818, and of course the Renaissance Faire itself started in Florence, Italy.”

The Renaissance Faire is a unique experience, said sophomore Andrew Ellison.

“You don’t usually get to walk among a bunch of people coming together to celebrate the novelty of Renaissance culture,” he said.

This year marks the 28th Renaissance Faire in Florence Alabama.

“We started in 1987,” Warren said. “I wanted a festival that would happen during the school year because most festivals are during summer months. I also wanted one that would tie into as many areas of curriculum as possible.”

The Faire has been focused on educating attendees since it began.

“Education is still our No. 1 objective, we have great fun as well,” he said. “It has developed over the years as we had hoped.”

In 2009 the event was added to the Alabama Encyclopedia as the official Renaissance Faire in the state.

“We petitioned through our state legislators for the state to designate our Faire as the official Alabama Renaissance Faire,” Warren said. “We got it signed by the governor and the whole nine yards.”

Participating in the Faire by dressing up can make the event more enjoyable, said freshman Samantha Kauffman.

“I like to look around the tents,” she said. “I’ve dressed up a couple times, which was pretty cool. Several people wanted pictures with me. It made it a more memorable experience.”

The Renaissance Faire is a nonprofit event.

“The Faire is always free, we don’t ever plan to start charging admission,” Warren said. “You can actually come to the Faire and have a really good time and not spend a penny.”

Most volunteer festivals only do well for six to eight years but the Renaissance Faire has managed to stay strong after 28 years, he said.

“We keep it very light-hearted,” Warren said. “If it ever quits being light and fun, then I’m out of here. Nothing about the Renaissance Faire ever keeps me up at night.”

Kauffman said everyone should experience the Faire at least once.

“It’s reminiscent of our culture before technology and more people need to experience that,” she said.