Picture 1940's Edinburgh: a city of winding medieval alleyways and impressive old architecture, surrounded by lush green hills and a castle perched on an ancient volcano. It is only fitting that this city would be a hub of theater and drama and the home of the Fringe Festival. In 1947 eight theater companies showed up uninvited to the Edinburgh International Festival. This growing desire to showcase alternative theater inspired the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; these non-mainstream companies and performers- the "fringe" of official festival theater- were only the beginning of what has now become an international performing and visual arts event, known as the Fringe Festival, hosted in various major cities around the world. This festival remains, to this day, an open invitation to all artists willing to participate. With the exception of a select few, the fringe festivals run on a first come first serve basis; there are no judges deciding which artists perform, and there are no restrictions regarding the style or themes of the works. These festivals take place in various theaters and other venues through out each city for a few weeks of the year. Check out the slideshow below for a few images of some iconic Fringe Festivals.