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Medieval Fantasy Festival this weekend

From an additional stage to expanded entertainment, dining and shopping opportunities, this year’s edition of the Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festival promises to offer “more, more, more” for all those wishing to take a walk back in time and into the stuff of lore and legend. The faire is set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24 at the ALMFF site at 4776 Fort Dale Road, near Greenville.

According to Nancy Johnson, aka Queen Annwyn of the Forest of Dragon Croft, this year’s ALMFF promises to be a heady mix of old and new for fairegoers.

Along with the return of favorite musical acts such as Chaste Treasure, Kracker Dan Minstrels, bagpipe-and-drum family band Haggis Rampant, harpist Lady Sophia, and Friar Finnegan and his comedic stories and songs, Johnson says three new musical acts and two new comedy acts will join the faire’s entertainment lineup, offering something to entertain all ages.

“Joining acts such as our amazing illusionist Joey Five, we have beautiful Mercy the Mermaid who will be at Mermaid’s Cove; Ember the Fire Bender who is known to dance on broken glass and perform other amazing feats; Furia the unicorn; sword dancers Kymry; the Commedia del Arte of Mobile and much more. Lots of fun and family-friendly entertainment will be waiting for our visitors to the kingdom,” Johnson said.

ALMFF is all about education as well as entertainment.

“Returning to the faire will be the New Riders of the Golden Age and their ever-popular jousting tournaments and the Winged Ambassadors birds of prey shows; the Norman encampment live steel demonstrations, and living history demonstrations of everything from soap making, medieval cooking, baking and basket weaving to talks on medieval manners and much more,” Johnson explained. “We also have a wonderful new addition, the Egilsson Society,  in our new 17th century historical encampment on site. We truly offer a great first-hand learning experience for all ages.”

If you have a passion for medieval fashion and frippery, enjoy Celtic-inspired jams, jellies and baking mixes, or love unusual items hand-crafted in a myriad of materials from metal, wood, blown glass and clay to leather and straw, you will find it all at ALMFF this year.

“We have 18 new vendors joining us from seven different states, plus some new local vendors,” Johnson said.

Among those selling their wares in the village this year will be Retriever Soapworks, Arts Emporium, Two Snakes Apothecary and Jewelry, Handwoven by Design (baskets), C.L.A. (clothing), The Copper Kettle Tea Bar, Mistress Mandy’s Fairy Faces (face painting), Celestial Chainmail, Flea Hop Pottery, Tapeworm Project (leather and metal), The Sword Circle, The Fairy Potter, Henderson’s Hearth, Nutt’ N Better, Arduinna’s Forest (clay creations), Viking Leatherworks and L&L Whips, Holy Smoke Incense, Dragon’s Breath Forge, Rusty Rose (hair accessories) and several local artisans and merchants, including Iron Oak Forge, Blackwater Creations and Stringer Armory.

Several new food vendors will also join the event in 2019.

“We have the Twisted Unicorn, which offers a very affordable dollar menu plus gluten-free and vegetarian options; the Ram and Poni, with its famous turkey legs; Tastee Blizzard shaved ice, Wild Bill’s Soda, and Curbside Grill offering specialities like meat on a stick and handmade lemonade, just to name a few. You won’t have to go hungry at faire, we promise,” said Johnson.

Many hours of labor have been put in by volunteers from both near and far to make the fourth annual event a successful one, Johnson said. 

“I cannot say enough about all our wonderful volunteers who have painted, planted, hammered, scrubbed and generally given their all on many Saturdays to help us get ready for the event. Believe me, it will be well worth all the effort. We look forward to seeing everyone at the faire.”

Tickets are $15 per day for adults; $7 for children 6-16 and for children 5 and under, entrance is free. Visitors may order tickets in advance online at www.almff.com. For more information, visit the festival website or their Facebook page at Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festival.