Castle Building Dreams Come True with Sherwood Forest Faire’s George Appling

Ever since I started performing at Renaissance festivals in 1999, I've dreamed about starting my own faire. I think most Rennies have. How exciting that would be! George Appling, or King George as he's known at the Sherwood Forest Faire, not only dreamed of it, he made his dream a reality.

Sherwood Forest Faire Map

How did it happen?

When I decided to focus my professional energy on something I really loved, I opted to share the burden and delight of starting a new Faire with a friend. We decided to go big, so for our 2010 opening season we built a full village – we built it, and they came to see us, and have been coming ever since.

Where did this inspiration come from?

When I first went to Texas Renaissance Festival as a 12-year-old, I realized that this is what I was meant to do. I did the standard American Dream track, going to Texas A&M, and Harvard. I've always wanted to run businesses that inspire me, and I'm finally doing that with the Faire, a mead company, the summer camp, and a telecommunications group. I've also always wanted to build a castle, and this gave me the opportunity to indulge that dream! Also, one of our biggest corporate values is community, pushing people to play and enjoy themselves, and to make this Faire great!

Where he has he seen his greatest successes and challenges over the years?

First 3 years, Sherwood claimed the “Best New Renaissance Festival” , which was awesome!
Music: We have 25 different bands over the course of the show, giving us so much more variety and depth to our music program
Jousting: We have full-contact competitive jousting, giving us a lot more realism than some other Faires
Food: The food comes through different companies who are following their (delicious) passion
The Castle Siege: It's essentially a battle and siege of the castle for a show, and even though it seemed ambitious, it's gone off without a hitch!

Rain Days: The same challenge that faces every Faire – rain days will lead to low business, which is almost impossible to avoid.
Inter-Festival Communication: There isn't much sharing of best-practices among Faires, even though everyone knows each other – creating that sort of interaction could help us all.

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