Everyone needs to visit the Sherwood Forest Faire near Austin, TX at least once. 2015 was the first I visited. The 2017 Faire (2016 has already passed) is scheduled for weekends between March 4 – April 23 & Friday, March 17th. Get your costumes ready!
While the set up is elaborate, with 40 stages and 130 merchant shops, a day in Sherwood Forest can get a bit pricy. There are usually select days where you can get in 2 for 1 if you enter before noon, otherwise, $20 per adult ($10 for children). You can also expect to pay for food, plus any activities you want to participate in, like throwing knives or shooting arrows. Of course, if you want any souvenirs or renaissance garb, that’ll cost you as well. If you had children, this could end up being an expensive day for you!
That being said, I want to emphasize how impressive the set up was. Sherwood Forest Faire is spread over 23 acres. There were times when my mom and I had no idea where we were. We were completely immersed in the renaissance village. The taverns and shops all had medieval facades and almost everyone was dressed up in some way. We wandered the shops, ate lunch (wonderful gyros and turkish coffee floats!), and watched some shows.
The highlight of the day? Combat jousting. I’d say that show was worth the price of admission. The knights wear real metal armor weighing 125-140 lbs and actually knock each other off their horses. When you arrive, grab a schedule and plan your day around the combat jousting. There are also musical groups, hand-to-hand combat shows, falconry demonstrations, an escape artist, and much more. The shows are free, so see as many as you can.
You can download daily schedules from their website. My recommendation would be to go on a weekend when there is combat jousting – it doesn’t happen everyday, so plan accordingly.
A few shots of the inside of Sherwood Forest. If you happen to visit when it’s raining, make sure you bring shoes you don’t mind getting a little muddy!
The Faire is excellent for people watching. The costumes are elaborate and all the workers (and many of the guests) are in character.
Jousting! We saw two jousting shows. One was challenge jousting, which was spearing apples and other fruits/vegetables and guiding lances through small metal rings. It’s an awesome display of skill. Then there is combat jousting, where the knights go at each other full speed ahead!
After the combat jousting, the knights got into a fist fight and picked up swords and hammers. Although clearly scripted, the battle was a blast to watch. And the kids LOVED it.