FLORENCE — Taran Lir said the Renaissance Faire will have a particularly Irish touch throughout the year.
Lir, portrayed by Devin Johnson, was crowned Sunday as king of the Renaissance Faire. He took Rebecca Linam as his queen.
Johnson, who has Irish heritage, said that will be a theme during his yearlong reign.
“We’re going to have a very Irish year,” he said. “Lots of meat and potatoes all year.”
It’s a tradition at the Florence fair’s final day for the reigning king or queen to step down and a new king or queen be crowned.
The decision of who takes the crown is made earlier in the month during the annual Renaissance Feast, where volunteers line up for dessert. A coin is in one of the desserts, and the person who gets that treat becomes the reigning monarch on the final day of the fair. This year, it was Johnson.
The annual switching of the crown is unique in Renaissance fairs, said Lord William of Lincolnshire, portrayed by William Freeman.
Freeman said having a new monarch every year keeps things fresh and helps attract new volunteers.
Florence’s fair has a story line that the first king was evil, so he was cursed for his transgressions. The curse was that nobody would be able to rule for more than a year.
The reigning monarch comes up with a story to explain why he or she must step down. Often, it’s a tragedy.
This year, King Matt Varble added a humorous twist, explaining he was running away to China so he could get rich by outsourcing Dutch merchandise, such as its windmills.
Lee Freeman, who portrays Lord Dickon of Barnsdale, said when someone agrees to wear the crown, they are making a commitment. They will appear in Florence’s annual Christmas parade, speak at schools about the Renaissance period and participate in a lecture series every Sunday in October.
Lee Freeman said the characters at the fair aren’t always representative of the Renaissance era. For example, a Pirates of the Caribbean character is one of the more popular ones at the fair. But when it comes to teaching students and the lecture series, they make sure everything is historically accurate.
“We allow these characters because it’s great fun, but we try to keep it grounded in fact, and that’s why we have things like the lecture series,” he said.
Johnson said he has someone working on potions to try to break the curse, but he’s against great odds. William Freeman doesn’t like his chances.
“We keep hoping one year we’ll break the streak, but we can’t,” William Freeman said. “Of course, why would we want to? Everyone seems to like it this way.”
Bernie Delinski can be reached at 256-740-5739 or bernie.delinski@TimesDaily.com.