Alabama Renaissance Faire
Renaissance Month (October Events)
Florence, Alabama (aka the Renaissance City) becomes a major tourist destination during October, which is officially designated as Renaissance Month. The events begin the first Friday night in October and culminate in the Alabama Renaissance Faire on the fourth weekend.
First Fridays in Downtown Florence 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. :
Stroll through historic downtown Florence the first Friday evening of each month March through December 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Artists and live musicians line the streets in sidewalk exhibits and performances. Restaurants, cafes, and gift shops stay open late for leisurely dinners and browsing. Photography, paintings, ceramics, artisans, folklife art. And did we mention live music? Join the Alabama Renaissance Faire Roundtable volunteers during October's First Friday for the kickoff of Renaissance Month events. Find our booth for brochures, t-shirts, posters, mugs, belly dancing, sword fighting, and other Renaissance-related shenanigans!
"Cast a Long Shadow" Sunday Afternoon Lecture Series 2 p.m. - 3 p.m. :
Come to the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. on the first three Sundays in October to participate in programs, lectures, and film series presented by Medieval/Renaissance Scholars. Each year's Lecture Series follows a different theme, but all are steeped in research and passionately presented. Click here for 2021 topics and presenters.
Educational Programs for Schools, Libraries, and Community Organizations:
For 2021, we will consider our outreach programs based on current Covid conditions.
The Roundtable volunteers who plan and staff the Alabama Renaissance Faire offer programs and presentations throughout the year for schools, libraries, community organizations, children's museums, etc. Programs may be adapted for the age and needs of the audience. Some examples are Renaissance dance (including lessons), a Gutenberg Printing Press demonstration with working model, literature and art presentations, sword fighting demonstrations, belly dancing, armor and weaponry, and cosplay/costuming. The volunteers will travel throughout Alabama and surrounding states to perform or present. We do ask that our mileage and expenses be compensated, but require no other fee. Contact us for specific details, and note that October is especially busy so book early!
Free Costume Workshop on the Second Saturday 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. :
Canceled for 2021 -- Look for our new Costume Clinic to be announced soon!
Hundreds of visitors come to our feast and faire in costume. To encourage this tradition, the Roundtable volunteers offer a free costume-making workshop on the second Saturday in October from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. We set up sewing machines in the carriage house at the rear of
the Kennedy-Douglass Art Center (217 E Tuscaloosa St, Florence, AL 35630), which is conveniently located directly across the street from the Faire site. People of all ages are invited to bring at least three yards of fabric a minimum of 54″ wide, and the rest (measuring, cutting, and sewing) is done by Roundtable volunteers. A person literally walks away with a simple costume in hand which he/she can embellish with jewelry, belts, etc. Please be aware that we only make t-tunics at the workshop, and recommend a solid color washable fabric.
Feast tickets will be available for purchase at the workshop, as well as t-shirts and posters, but there is no charge for the costume-making.
Alabama Renaissance Feast on the Third Saturday 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. :
Canceled for 2021 -- We will be back next year when we can eat, dance, and rejoice in true Medieval/Renaissance Style!
One of the major events of the month is an authentic Medieval/Renaissance Feast consisting of four courses of food and three hours of entertainment. Roundtable volunteers transform the Florence-Lauderdale Coliseum (702 Veterans Drive, Florence, AL 35630) into a baronial feast hall and the chef uses period recipes, although there are some modifications for the modern palate. Although it is not a requirement, people who attend the Feast are encouraged to follow the customs of the era by bringing their own table decorations, place settings, and eating utensils. Seating is limited to 200 people. Tickets are $25.00. Tickets are non-refundable.
Alabama Renaissance Faire on the Fourth Weekend in October
Saturday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. - 6 p.m. :
We plan to host our 2021 Faire, subject to Covid guidelines, regulations, and safe practices.
Held in Wilson Park (renamed Fountain-on-the-Green on weekend of the faire), the Alabama Renaissance Faire draws 30,000– 35,000 people each year and is designated as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast, giving it recognition by more than 800 media outlets throughout the region. It is always held on the fourth Saturday and Sunday in October, taking advantage of the balmy weather and the gorgeous fall foliage in the park.
The faire is unique because it is a non-profit, educational, all-volunteer staffed and managed event highlighting all aspects of the Medieval/Renaissance period. Our mission is to educate about and to celebrate the Renaissance -- the rebirth of learning in almost all disciplines -- while focusing on the social/cultural characteristics of the period. The event is family-friendly, providing free activities for children and adults throughout the faire. We have 100+ merchants and food vendors, but no admission or parking fees. The park is handicapped accessible and in the middle of downtown, so within easy walking distance of hotels, restaurants, and mundane shopping.
Our performers come from all over the country to provide entertainment, so please be generous with your gratuities when they pass the hat! Sword fighters, Renaissance dancers, belly dancers, musicians, singers, jugglers, and magicians continuously perform on both stages and in the lanes. Be sure to visit the Kozaky living-history encampment and do not miss the Rainbow Dancers belly-dancing at the Conical Dwelling. Crafts include handmade baskets, handcrafted chain mail, home-made soap, and hand-thrown pottery. We have vendors who provide a broad selection of garb, weaponry, books, jewelry, and specialty items to fit any budget. Delicious faire food is available, including huge turkey legs!
The Royal Pavilion is located near the fountain on the Wood Avenue side of the park. Our monarchs hold court throughout the weekend and preside over all ceremonies. The faire opens on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. The opening ceremony and Royal Proclamation is at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday followed by a processional. The Awards Ceremony for our art and sonnet contests is at the Royal Pavilion on Sunday at 2:00 p.m. The Memorial Fleet Boat dedication follows at 2:30 p.m. The Coronation for the new monarchs (chosen randomly at the Feast on the prior Saturday night) is at 3:00 p.m. The faire closes at 6 p.m. October is a great time to be in Florence, Alabama — especially the fourth weekend!
All events are planned and executed by an all-volunteer Roundtable. The 18 members of the Board of Directors serve three-year terms, guide the overall planning, and set policy. The Roundtable meets monthly from January through August, bi-monthly in September, and weekly in October. The Board meets quarterly. There are no paid employees.
The Faire is financed primarily through donations, the fees that vendors pay to reserve spaces, and ticket sales for the Feast. Whatever profit might accrue in a given year after expenses are paid goes directly into the Faire treasury. The City of Florence contributes to the faire in such ways as providing overnight security for the weekend and waiving the fee for the use of the Florence-Lauderdale Coliseum on the night of the Feast.