Do512 Family contributing writer, Ava Love Hanna, went to the Sherwood Forest Faire last weekend for her first time! Here are her thoughts….
Despite having lived in the hill country for years, I’ve never been to one of the period festivals held in this area every year. This past weekend I had a chance to bring my family out to the Sherwood Forest Faire and it was awesome.
A short drive outside of Austin, the grounds for the Sherwood Forest Faire are beautiful. If this is your first time heading out there, getting to the grounds can be a little tricky. My GPS got me almost there, but fortunately there was a hand painted sign to show me the correct place to turn for Old Potato Road. Oh, Old Potato Road… there’s not much positive I can say about it. You will be on a very narrow and rock laden dirt road for nearly a mile. Don’t stress, you’re going the right way. Just drive slowly.
Once you make the turn into the parking area, it’s all worth it. The Sherwood Forest Faire really is a fair in the forest. The secluded area helps to enhance the illusion that you have slipped back in time. There are no car noises or other distractions. Seriously, there are no distractions. The cell coverage in the area was limited so I had no internet connection on my phone. This means no checking in on facebook with your awesome pics, but it also means you can put your phone away and just enjoy the day.
The fair is bigger than it looks, but completely manageable. Check the maps or just do what we did and wander in circles until you find something cool. There are lots of places to sit and rest and the whole fair has an atmosphere of relaxed frivolity. If you have a little one with you, I would definitely consider the wagon rentals at the entrance gate. These aren’t any ordinary wagons by the way; they are decked out with tapestries and cushions, and made me wish I could convince someone to pull me around in one.
While you’re at the front gate getting a wagon, you might also want to check out the costume rentals. I’m not normally one for cosplay, but after a few hours in the fair, I was wishing I had my own fancy outfit.
There was plenty to see and do. There are a myriad of stages featuring a wide variety of entertainment: music, comedy shows, Shakespearean dramas, knife throwing, combat shows, and more. You can check the schedule to find your favorites or in some cases, the action will find you. In the center of the fairgrounds we wandered upon a live action wedding/fight scene including Robin Hood and a host of bad guys that was taking place all around us.
There are lots of fun, kid-friendly rides. The horse ride was a favorite, and at only $5 per ride, a great deal too! There are also giant swings, camel rides, a maze, a carousel and more. Each amusement was pretty reasonably priced costing between $2 and $6 per person.
If you do nothing else while you’re at the Sherwood Forest Faire, make sure you time your visit to catch the Joust. This was a favorite event for everyone. While there is an actual joust, it’s less of a competition and more of a comedy show/crowd participation event. The emcee was hilarious and had the whole crowd riled up and cheering for their favorite knights. The knights perform a traditional joust and then continue the show with ground combat and comedy. It really was a highlight of an already great day.
The organizers of the Faire have thought of everything. There are ATMs on site ($2.50 fee), restrooms, numerous eateries, and a lovely pub with beer on tap featuring live Celtic music. After a day running in the woods and riding horses, we were able to sit, enjoy a drink, and watch the sunset with soft music playing in the background.
I went to the Sherwood Forest Faire expecting an amusement park of sorts and thinking I might stay for an hour or two, but ended up staying until the fair closed (at dusk) and left feeling super relaxed and happy. It was a wonderful day full of rich experiences for the whole family and is definitely something not to be missed.
The faire is open from 10 am – dusk every Saturday and Sunday in February and March (and Friday, March 14). Tickets are $9 – $20, depending on your age and where you buy your tickets. You can save money if you buy online or at Walgreens. Also, on Sundays you can buy one ticket and get one free when you buy at the gate between 10 am- noon (every weekend besides closing weekend).
Check out some awesome pictures of the Sherwood Forest Faire on our Facebook.
Ava Love Hanna is a writer, performer, and mother of a super awesome 5-year-old. She loves exploring Austin’s best kid-friendly places with her husband and son. Read about her adventures in writing, parenting, and being obsessed with Doctor Who at avalovehanna.com.