Sherwood's Robin Hood Festival canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic
Following suit with the cancellation of other regional fairs and festivals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival announced it would cancel this year's events and activities originally planned for July.
"The Sherwood Robin Hood Festival Association has been hopeful that the COVID-19 virus pandemic situation would resolve itself and that we would be able to hold our annual Robin Hood Festival the third weekend of July," Ron Groeger Jr., Sherwood Robin Hood Festival Association president, wrote on the organization's website. "However, we are sad and disappointed to announce that we have canceled the 2020 Sherwood Robin Hood Festival."
The cancellation is only the third in the festival's history since it began in 1954. The annual event not only features entertainment and activities in Old Town Sherwood but also a well-attended parade and an archery competition held on the athletic field at Edy Ridge Elementary School.
While disappointed with the festival's cancellation, Groeger on Monday said the situation is understandable. Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday morning that large festivals and gatherings would be postponed at least until sometime in September. By coincidence, the Robin Hood Festival Association met Thursday evening.
Groeger said hopes now are to focus on a way to still hold another lower-profile nod to the festival, which might include a food drive or something similar.
On hold at the moment is publicly naming the high school girl selected as this year's Maid Marian, who presides over the Robin Hood Festival.
"They've chosen one," said Groeger. He said Maid Marian chaperone Kristine Mulkey is "figuring out a way to do a cool announcement (and) coronation."
An inaugural Madrigal Coronation Feast had been planned at a local venue in April to announce the new Maid Marian, but it had to be canceled because of coronavirus concerns.
Up to the point of cancellation, the festival had 50 merchandise vendors as well as 11 food vendors. Groeger said he felt bad about scrapping the event, because local festivals and events are how many of the vendors make a living each year.
Sandy Wallace, secretary of the Robin Hood Festival, who also oversees the annual archery contest, said the Robin Hood Festival was first canceled in 1978 due to a lack of volunteers. However, public outcry was strong enough that a small group of supporters insisted on holding some type of event, resulting in a scaled-back Robin Hood Days.
"It was very small group of people that put the festival on," Wallace said. "Then we canceled in 1986. That was due to a rise in insurance costs."
For the record, Sherwood's competitor in the annual archery contest, Nottingham, England, cancelled its annual archery competition March 22 due to the worldwide pandemic, according to Wallace.
Sherwood has retained the grand prize Tiffany Silver Bowl trophy for the archery contest since 1991, she said.
Still planned for now is the Robin Hood Festival's Holiday Festival, which is set for Dec. 5, said Groeger.
"I'm hoping we can give the Holiday Festival a little Renaissance feel to it, just to kind of blend the two together a little bit," said Groeger. That might include hosting the annual knighting ceremony — where Maid Marian knights local residents and officials — at that time as well.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.