• 63°

Medieval festival returns Friday

There’s plenty of new attractions from ye days of olde coming to the Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festival this weekend in Greenville. ALMFF opens on Friday at 10 a.m. and continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday.

“We are so excited about this year’s faire—it’s truly bigger and better than ever,” enthuses ALMFF co-owner, Nancy Johnson.

“Joining us for the first time will be Frosty Locks and Splinter the Fae, our roving lane minstrels. We have a new Viking encampment with a Bardic storyline, and we’ve added Bow Blast from Kansas City, offering padded arrow warrior games for your pleasure. Bring your friends and see who has the best team!”

Another new addition to the faire schedule is the majestic Lady Liberty, an American bald eagle the Winged Ambassadors have been waiting six years to add to their aviary.

“This is an amazing chance to see the symbol of our nation up close and personal–and a rare thing, indeed, to have at a festival,” Johnson says.

A new production by Commedia Del Arte Mobile, “The Lady and the Dragon,” will be performed on Saturday and Sunday and the new belly dance troupe, Nur Jahan, will entertain all three days. The ever-popular fairy teas will return at 4 p.m. each day (seating is very limited, so pre-registration at Copper Kettle Tea of Fairhope is required), with a new Maypole along with additional children’s games added to the fairy realm.

The Normans of the Southern Sun have added a new medieval building to their encampment and they will be talking and teaching medieval building techniques, Johnson says.

Non-profits will also be making an appearance this year at the faire, with the Troy Rescue Project offering homeless animals for adoption and Butler County Humane Society volunteers selling calendar, t-shirts and pet-related items to help local animals in need.

Returning to ALMFF this year to entertain all ages will be Kracker Dan Minstrels, Haggis Rampant, Blue Moon Circus, magician Joey V, Feathered Friends Animal Rescue’s Petting Zoo and Unicorn, Kymyr Sword Dancers,  Chaste Treasure, jousters New Riders of the Golden Age and Friar Finnigan.

And there’s plenty of education mixed with entertainment planned for the event, says Johnson.

“We are hosts for HERA (Historic Education and Re-Enactment of Alabama) and we welcome the wonderful people of Lousiana’s Renaissance Living History Center, who will be lending their vast knowledge and expertise on these matters. They will be doing historic cooking, bread making and manners demonstrations for our visitors.”

According to Johnson, no less than three published authors will also make their appearance at ALMFF this weekend for book signings—Vincent King, Nicole Schladecker and Danielle Raver, who will also be doing poetry readings under the front gate.

“Along with the King and Queen of the Kingdom of Dragon Croft, the King and Queen of Florence will be in attendance as our special guests and the Chancellor of the Alabama Renaissance Faire in Florence—the state’s oldest faire—will be leading medieval dance lessons in the Queen’s Garden all three days,” says Johnson.

But wait—there’s more.

“The Ladies of the Ambassadors Guild will be raffling off a luncheon with the Lord High Sheriff—the rumor is the Queen is trying to marry him off—while we hear the Savage Pirate Crew from Texas will be invading Dragonfly Lane,” Johnson confides.

“Admiral Fredrick the Black and one of his captains will conduct Rat Puck on the village green next to the dragon statue each afternoon at 2 p.m. and the Beard Contest, judged by the charming ladies of Chaste Treasure, will take place on Saturday and Sunday in front of Retriever Soapworks. The Irish Penny Brigade will be hosting Hero Quest. And for all those who enjoying dressing up for faire, we have a costume competition at 10:45 each morning, with the winners getting goodies plus free entry to the faire the following day.”

Along with all these entertainers, contests and games, there will be some 60 vendors, including several local artists and artisans, “making our kingdom an ever more magical and educational place,” says Johnson.

In fact, many area students will be visiting the faire on Friday to get a taste of life in the days of yore.

Tickets will be available at the gate as well as online via PayPal at www.almff.com and are $10 for adults, $5 for children 5-16, with children under five getting in free. “Cash is king at the faire. Many of the vendors are not set up to take credit or debit cards, so plan accordingly,” Johnson says.

For more information and to see the daily schedule of events, visit the ALMFF website or go to their FB page “Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festival -almff.”