If modern life is just not cutting it recently, pray thee consider a trip to Sherwood Forest Faire. This renaissance faire in McDade, Texas, opens its secluded little pocket of bites, shops, games, and shows on March 4, then revels in place on weekends until April 23.
The annual event is in its 14th year as Austin’s home faire, much smaller than the Texas Renaissance Festival, but much closer to Central Texas. It has its own charm, tucked into a denser wood than perhaps many visitors would expect, just under an hour from downtown Austin. Although it’s small in comparison, this bustling temporary town offers enough to keep adventurers busy for a whole weekend if they take their time and mind their coin.
Like any faire, Sherwood Forest is packed with opportunities to buy costumes and accessories, whether that’s hand fans and corsets, kilts, or something more inspired by fantasy. Part of the appeal is slowly building a look — an investment at any level of quality, although some of the nicer, multi-part outfits cost hundreds of dollars or more — and part is appreciating a type of craftsmanship we don’t see in our days of fast fashion. Just looking around and seeing self-expression and commitment to the aesthetic at every level is inspiration enough to pop on a fairy crown.
A sprawling list of food vendors sell fuel to keep your caravan moving. Some ren faire classics like turkey legs and fried snacks grace the boards outside of taverns, while others expand the usual palate: cannoli, oysters, and vegetable egg rolls. There are at least 22 vendors selling specialty food and drinks, with several pubs and drink stations selling wine, beer, and mayhaps a tankard of mead.
The performance schedule has not been released yet, but is sure to include comedy, musical acts, and combat. In between watching knights go at each other with heavy, skilled weaponry, visitors can practice with a bow and arrow, catch a ring with a jousting rod, or visit a tarot reader for help picking their battles in the first place.
The regular season faire gives everyone a low-stakes chance at temporary immersion — costumed or not — so it’s a good place for newcomers. Seasoned bards and other townspeople will also flood the grounds and even camp out, but may be more excited for the annual adult summer camp. See how the mead tastes through April, and if you’re still thirsty, make your triumphant return or sign a cool, adventurous kid up for the youth camp.
Tickets ($26 general admission, $13 for kids) to the Sherwood Forest Faire are on sale now at sherwoodforestfaire.com. Click through for more information on group and other discounts. Visitors can also purchase camping passes and several additional activities during the faire.