Robin Hood Festival

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa

Fun with cabbages
This year, I went to the Robin Hood festival, at Edwinstowe, which takes places every August for several days.  English readers, especially those from Nottinghamshire and surrounding areas, will be well aware of the legendary outlaw, who “stole from the rich and gave to the poor”.  I’ve been to the festival before, but it was with my in laws, and my father in law is not able to walk very far, so I hadn’t seen the full extent of it.

"Robin Hood"
When we arrived at the main arena, a falconry display was in full swing, and there were also some other birds on prey in a marquee, which I would have had to pay to photograph.  The fairground next to it, which is a fixture most of the year, was open and seemed to be doing a roaring trade.

The main arena, with fairground behind
After the falconry, there was jousting.  I thought this would mean knights trying to knock each other off their horses, but it was actually people dressed up as Robin Hood and his merry men, (without hats) and the Sheriff of Nottingham - the baddie - riding at a small swivelling target with a spiked ball on a chain on the other side that flew into the air when the shield was hit.  They also tried to spear cabbages on lances and there was some hand to hand combat on the ground.

The pottery lessons proved very popular
There were also crafts and food on sale in the area around the visitor centre and Major Oak, together with small equipment for children to play with, such as diablos, and juggling balls, and professionals to show them how to use them.  Some of the food and crafts were more authentically old than others – I don’t expect Robin Hood would have eaten stuffed olives or fudge somehow.  The forest has many old oak trees, and the Major Oak is the one Robin Hood is supposed to have hidden in.  It is hundreds of years old and has a girth of 10 metres (33').  The area around it is fenced off, to help protect the tree’s roots, and there was a archer in the fenced off area showing off his skills with a bow and arrow.  A juggler had just finished for the day and was chasing being chased around by small children.

The Major Oak - the archer's target can be seen just to the right
The festival is free, but parking is £5 – there was an extra car park set up especially for the event, and the village of Edwinstowe was cut off so that people could safely cross the road to it.  The event was well attended, and we noticed many foreigners from all over the world.

I have featured the Sherwood Forest craft centre before, and was pleased to find it open, as was my husband, who bought a piece of amber to add to his fossil collection.

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