The official Alabama Renaissance Faire is held each October in Florence, Alabama (USA). The city was named after Florence, Italy, considered one of the cultural centers of the historic Renaissance period and where many believe the Renaissance Period actually began.
In the summer of 1987 city leaders and educators in the Alabama city planned the first festival to take place during the school year as an educational fair. It was the next year that the State Senate and House passed a bill that designated Florence as the state’s official renaissance fair city.
The fair was originally to showcase the Italian Renaissance culture but has since become a festival like many other Renaissance Fairs that includes Scottish, English and Modern Sci-Fi elements.
One of the first costumed characters that we met when we attended this year’s fair recently was the gentleman dressed as Galileo, an Italian astronomer, engineer and physicist born in 1564.
Galileo entered the University of Pisa to study medicine but soon changed his study to mathematics. Although he never finished his degree he was chair of mathematics at two different universities.
He revolutionized both astronomy and biology with his inventions that included compasses and improved telescopes with balances as well as microscopes. He also discovered several celestial bodies.
Galileo led an interesting and controversial life. In 1633 he was summoned before the Roman Inquisition and lived the last nine years of his life under house arrest.
This modern Galileo may have been the first character that stopped and posed for me but he certainly wasn’t the last. The people who dress up and roam around Wilson Park during the festival seem to enjoy playing their part and are more than happy to stop and pose whenever they spy someone with a camera!
Continue to visit my blogs and web site in the coming weeks to view and learn about several other characters that I photographed that day.
Have you attended a Renaissance Faire in your hometown or other city? If so, please use the comment section to share your experience.
Click here to view a larger version of the Galileo collage featured in this blog entry.