7th Annual Sherwood Forest Faire!
Hear Ye! Hear Ye! It’s time for the annual Sherwood Forest Faire and it’s a ton of fun for the whole family. The first time Bob and I traveled the short way to McDade, Texas to attend a Renaissance Festival was in March of 2010. The Festival FEELS like it is in the middle of nowhere (so make sure you have enough gas to get there and back – there are very few options on gas stations after a certain point!), which is pretty impressive considering how close it is to such a big city as Austin. When we went, I was a little over four months pregnant with our first daughter, Brooke, and her due date was around the time of Bob’s birthday in August. I had a wonderful pregnancy thus far and we were doing everything we could before our little bundle o’ joy arrived and this sounded like a great opportunity to do something fun and different. We ate big turkey legs, shot arrows, and even had a coin made for Brooke out of silver that had her initial and a lion stamped on it in one of the Faire’s lovely shops. The lion was supposed to represent her birth month, a Leo, but unbeknownst to us at the time, Brooke arrived much earlier in July, so her actual birth month symbol is actually a crab. Ha! No matter, she still has that coin in her baby book and we told her the story of her preemie birth story and why the coin was so special. However, over six years later, we have two little rugrats and haven’t been back since. It wasn’t because we didn’t WANT to – I knew the kids would love it – but the timing never seemed right, especially once little Brie was born. This year, though, we had it planned. Our whole family would be going to the now 7th annual Sherwood Forest Faire and we were all very excited about it!
What to expect at a Renaissance Festival:
Renaissance Festivals or ‘Ren Faires’ are named after the Renaissance period in Europe that was from the 14th to the 17th century. It’s basically a fun gathering for people to put on period costumes (or not!) and pretend to be from a different era or even WORLD. Many people make their living doing these festivals (some traveling from one festival to another each year), so there’s lots to see, do, and BUY. Oh, and Don’t feel obligated to dress up, but don’t be surprised to see people dressed in period costumes, as pirates, as fairies, and many other interesting creatures. Faires vary in size and content and the Sherwood Forest Faire is quite a big event (check out the massive Village Map here – and be sure to pick one up when you arrive, too!) The Sherwood Forest Faire has over 40 stage acts and 130 merchant shops on top of food, rides, and games for the entire family! The Faires happen all over the country and many, like Sherwood, are on a permanent site and usually add new attractions each year. When you go, be sure to bring your wallet, phone, and have some cash on hand. There is a lot of things for sale and some items are NOT cheap, especially if you are buying special gear! Oh, and I also wanted to mention that we ended up going during the ASL (or American Sign Language) weekend, where there were sign language interpreters all over the festival. We learned this was a common thing for Ren Faires to do during their season, so if you are interested in attending a ASL weekend at this or another Ren Faire, be sure to check their schedule online for the specific date(s).
Typically this is what you’ll find at a Renaissance Festival:
- Shops and stalls selling clothing, candles, soaps, jewelry, artwork, weapons, ceramics, leather goods, books, and much more…like people stamping coins, for instance.
- Plenty of food and drink! You can find turkey legs, meat pies, giant pickles, wine, beer, and tons of regular food and kid-friendly or teetotaler drinks, too.
- Interesting characters and actors wandering around. Feel free to talk to them and ask to take photos of them – and don’t be surprised to find a fellow heckler or two. It’s all in fun!
- LOTS of live entertainment. We found comedy skits, acrobats, musicians, fortune tellers, games, archery, petting zoos, pirate ships, pub crawls, faire quests/adventure games, dancers, jugglers, stilt walkers, and even actors staging impromptu sword fights. Our favorite event we encountered on our first trip was the jousters.
Just for the Kiddos! Once Upon A Time… is a place in Sherwood Forest made especially for kids! There are all kinds of magical creatures and fairy-tales come to life in this 2 acre section of the woods. Check out this page on their website to find all the kid-centric activities and events just for kids!
Sound like fun? It is! Here’s the details on when and how to get to the Faire and I will share the daily prices below. Go to the www.sherwoodforestfaire.com website for information on season tickets, weekend passes, and even special event tickets. Did I mention that children ages five and under are FREE?!? Yes, FREE! Score for our family!
Weekends Feb 13 – Apr 3 & Fri Mar 18, 2016
10am – Dusk, Rain or Shine
No Pets Allowed
At Sherwood Forest Faire there are several simple rules that patrons must adhere to:
- No pets (except service animals)
- No outside food or beverage inside the village
- Bladed weapons must be peace-tied
- No firearms
- Check here for ATM and camping info
1883 Old Hwy 20, McDade TX 78650 (Note: Do not trust GPS!)
Our family’s trip to the 7th Annual Sherwood Forest Faire!
As soon as we got into the Faire there was a band playing and a group of ladies asked if we wanted to join the dance circle after seeing our girls dancing around. We were all game, and as you can see, Brooke and Brie happily danced in-between our dance circle. The girls both love to dance and there were plenty of opportunities for them to dance away the entire time there. The girls never passed up an opportunity if they heard music playing.
After all that dancing, we immediately went to the kiddie section and got some yummy coffee for the adults and water for the girls as well as a few carrot cake muffins to munch on as we decided what to do next. The girls had a blast marking up areas where chalk was provided and they were able to go into the Faire’s petting zoo and feed the animals. After that, Brooke and Brie were so excited to ride on the ponies, especially Brie, and all she could talk about on our ride home from the Faire was about her pony named ‘Sassy’. I think she wanted to take him home. We also did a jousting ride for kids where they held a stick to try and hook a circle as their wooden horses flew down a mechanical line, but I didn’t get a picture of that since I had to sit on the ride with Brie. It was so much fun and quite FAST!
Probably the highlight of our time at the Sherwood Forest Faire was being able to go into the official ‘Sherwood Forest’ castle and meet the TWO QUEENS of the Faire. Apparently, after inquiring, we learned that the Faire has two different Queens from different realms. Wow! Brie was in awe the entire time we were in the castle and I think she really thought she was meeting royalty. It was pretty hilarious. The ladies were all so sweet to our girls, even giving them little ‘friends of the Queen’ trinkets to wear during the festival. Brooke is saving hers in her jewelry box.
I will say that between the rides and the activities and the food, you can spend money pretty quickly at the festival, but we had planned our budget and we were able to stick to our designated amount. The Sherwood Forest Faire was a BLAST and I definitely will be taking our family again. See You Next Year!
Youth Summer Camps! As a parent to an almost first-grader, I know it’s now “CAMP SEASON” for working parents who are trying to find awesome camps for their kids to do this summer while they have to work. Sherwood Forest Faire has youth summer camps (for ages 7-15), so check out more information here if you are interested!
List Price (One Day Tickets – Other Options Available on the website!):
- Adult (age 13+): $23
- Youth (age 6-12): $13
- Military or Senior (age 65+) with ID: $20
- Two-for-One Sundays – Must purchase tickets and enter the faireground by 12pm
- Two Adults or One Adult and One Youth: $23
- Two Youth: $13
- Children 5 and under – free of charge, no ticket required