With festivities celebrating the first official Robin Hood Festival in 1954, this year’s Robin Hood Festival July 18-19 promises to be a special event for people of all ages.

We’ll be honoring those who had a part in bringing this cherished tradition into being, creating an event that has endured to become one of the oldest community festivals in Oregon.

The very first Robin Hood parade was organized in 1946 by returning World War II veterans who banded together to form a group called Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

In 1952, they launched a harvest festival in the fall, which then officially became the Robin Hood Festival in July 1954. The Maid Marian Court began in the early 1950s, even before the first official Festival. With a tradition that links the generations, one of this year’s Maid Marian court members is the granddaughter of the very first Maid Marian.

In 1956, a highly unusual sporting event came into being when Sherwood challenged Nottingham, England, to an archery match. Intensely competitive to this very day, we’re celebrating for the 59th year of the international contest in 2014. A special delegation of archers is coming to Sherwood this year to be welcomed by the city and knighted on Friday night.

Join us July 18-19 in Old Town to enjoy music and revelry to delight young and old. Both medieval and modern, the festival features popular bands of today on one stage, with creative family entertainment, medieval music, swordplay and dance and on another. The Voices for the Performing Arts Royal Academy will be performing “Beauty and the Beast” on a third stage.

Experience the 26th annual Knighting Ceremony 6 p.m. Friday. The popular Community Parade is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, inviting entries with the theme “Once Upon a Time in Sherwood.” Janice (Swenson) Becker, the first Robin Hood Festival Maid Marian, will serve as grand marshal, along with other original court members.

Explore the extensive Vendor Village, consisting of over 100 booths, with a wide variety of shopping and activities to discover. The kids will enjoy arts, crafts and activities. There is even a dance for teens on Friday night. Demonstrate your creativity in the annual Castle Building Contest or bring the best entries from your garden to the Flower and Plant Show. And of course there will be plenty of delicious food, with a beer and wine garden featuring selections from local wineries and breweries.

Are you curious about an archery competition almost 60 years old? Archers of all ages (up to national championship level) will demonstrate their skill Saturday and Sunday, July 19-20 at Edy Ridge Elementary School, with Maid Marian shooting the first arrow and handing out the awards.

Best of all, admission to the Festival grounds is free (charges apply for some activities).

Susan Danz is the secretary and publicist for the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival Association.

Contract Publishing

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