Medieval festival fosters fun, ‘fairemily’

By Lanell Downs Smith

In February 2018, I stumbled into Kingdom of Dragon Croft at the Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festival quite by accident. The fun, festivities and friendships volunteers of the living history event in Greenville were no mere chance, but rather an extended network volunteers affectionately refer to as a ‘fairemily.’

That late February Sunday afternoon, I set out to visit my first medieval festival. As a lover of middle-ages and medieval history, I couldn’t wait to taste a semblance of what life must have been like in the early 800s. In my eagerness, however, I sallied forth a month too early and happened upon Queen Annwyn (Nancy Ardoin), her gallant hero, King Gregory (Ardoin) the Grey and the court ladies practicing a dance.

The festival volunteers welcomed me in spite of my early timing and invited me to tour the rolling hills, the babbling brook, Queen Annwyn’s garden and the halls and coves which make up the faire site.

And, after meeting several key players, they asked if I would like to join their merry band.

In wonder I asked, “You would let me? You mean to say that I could dress up in a gown and be part of my lady’s court?”

So it was that a country girl from Lapine traveled back in time to be her majesty’s lady in waiting. On volunteer work days I met other volunteers, some local and others traveling from across the country to create a medieval village in the woods just outside of Greenville. I discovered musicians, theatrical players, goat farmers, university professors, seamstresses, craftsmen (and women) and a host of other people who gathered and worked to build a space where families could learn about history while having fun and making friends.

I soon learned that the group, who came together from all walks of life, made up an extended family, who cared for and supported one another in a way not often found among people with such diverse backgrounds.

Drawn together by their craft and a love for historical reenactment, the people who present the Alabama Medieval Fantasy Festival gather once a month to prepare the site, and once a year to portray all the wonder of an medieval market complete with family friendly entertainment, culinary delights to tempt even the most discriminating palate and vendors selling their wares, something for everyone.

The 2024 Alabama Medieval Festival is slated for March 2 – 3, rain or shine. Tickets are available online at or at the gate. Come out and visit for the day to experience all the festival has to offer. And, if you are interested in becoming part of the faire’s family, talk with a volunteer about how you can get involved.

The kingdom will welcome you with open arms.