Greater Austin is a destination with something for everyone, and it serves as the creative and cultural heart of Texas. Travelers will find that Austin proper is overflowing with live music venues and unique restaurants, while the surrounding communities feature a spectrum of outdoor activities and local festivals.
The Sherwood Forest Faire is a medieval-themed extravaganza located in McDade, which is located 35 miles east of Austin. It will be open on weekends from March 4th to April 23rd and on Friday, March 17th for Spring Break. Patrons will encounter a full medieval village with a castle, shops, stages, and more. Entertainment will be family-friendly with options including full contact jousting, live music and comedy, sword fighting, and fire juggling. Younger patrons will have a blast on hand-operated and while playing various games. The food options will certainly impress, ranging from classic Italian meals to beef jerky. Multiple vendors will sell refreshments, and for attendees over 21 years old, there will be beer, wine, and mead. ResortsandLodges.com got the opportunity to interview George Appling, a representative for the event, to talk about this medieval spectacular.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
GA: We are entering our 8th season, and we’ve grown every year.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
GA: Over 100,000 including our Fall Music Festival.
RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event? Children? Families? Couples?
GA: All of the above. We are a fully-fledged medieval village with over 100 permanent shops plus a dozen stages, wedding chapel, castle, joust arena, and more. There is something for everyone.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
GA: Patrons to Renaissance festivals around the country will feel a strong sense of familiarity in Sherwood Forest. That being said, we think our music, full contact jousting, artisan food, and focus on handcrafted goods, as opposed to imports, are particularly strong.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
GA: We are a 23-acre village that is fully immersive. We have over 1,000 participants who take you back to the year 1196 in Sherwood Forest outside of Nottingham, England. You can see full contact jousting, falconry, sword fighting, fire juggling, comedy, and at least a dozen live bands. We have rides and games for the kids plus libations to quench every thirst including the ever popular Thorin’s Viking Mead.
RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?
GA: We can also accommodate a small number of guests for luxurious overnight stays in the castle. for We have discounted rates with several local hotels. The hotels tend to be a 15-minute drive away. Austin is about 35 miles to the west. Perhaps more interestingly, we have a thriving camping community. We have close to 2,000 patrons camping on any given Saturday night, and once closing cannon goes off around Dusk (~8 pm) “a whole ‘nother faire” opens up in the campgrounds. The campgrounds are open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights and are only $10 per person for the whole weekend. You will find new friends and incredibly welcoming people in the Sherwood campgrounds.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
GA: Sherwood Forest Faire is a major contributor to Bastrop County. Yes, the hotels get full. The Faire is one of the, if not THE, largest buyers of beer from the local Budweiser distributor! We are the #1 customer for Thorin’s Viking Mead, a local business. There is always construction going on in Sherwood Forest since we are a permanent site, so we bring tons of business to Home Depot and Lowes.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
GA: Sherwood Forest Faire was voted the “Best New Renaissance Festival” for three years in a row back in our first three years (2010-2012). It’s an incredible show. And don’t leave early. At 5:30 pm each day, there is a castle siege! The story changes each year, but we’ve had live archery fire, a flaming arrow from Robin Hood, a battering ram, scaling ladders, war horses, four on four sword fights, fireballs, the Barbican on fire, and more. We like to think it’s the most ambitious theater scene any renaissance festival has ever done.
For more information about the Sherwood Forest Faire, please visit the event website.