Welcome to the Blogtown series we like to call Worst. Night. Ever.

Every Wednesday during our weekly "My, What a Busy Week!" pitch meetings, someone suggests an event which is the equivalent of shooting burning acid into our eyes—but we also realize a more enlightened person might love it! Hence, these "risky" events are often unfairly pushed aside. WELL, NO MORE. Instead of allowing these events to vanish forever, once a year—and only for Worst. Night. Ever.—we attend them. We write about them. We share with you, dear readers, our Worst. Nights. Ever.

Each member of the Mercury's editorial staff will be presented with events that do not match their personality or interests... like, AT ALL. Afterward, he or she will review it right here on the blog! NOTE: Everyone's taste is different, right? So while attending a "weird sex ecstatic dance naked thing" might make Ned absolutely miserable, Dirk would probably love it! As ever, competitors must stay for at least two hours (or until the event is over, whichever comes first) and are not allowed to get drunk, or use any substances (drugs) or distractions (phone/reading material) to dull the pain they may experience.

This week: Mercury Senior Editor Erik Henriksen's trip to the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival.

I'm what some people might call a "history buff." If it's historical, I love it! "Gimme some of that sweet history," I'm always telling my friends. "I can't get enough of it!"

Now, knowing that I'm a "history buff," a lot of people ask me, "So, Erik! What's your favorite bit of history?" I try to give them a good answer, even though it's a tricky question. (That's the thing about history: There's so much of it! Maybe too much?) But time after time, my answer is always the same: My favorite bit of history is the historical reign of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, a tale of valor and violence and song.

(For those of you who aren't "history buffs," a quick "refresher"! Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was an old-timey English prince [of thieves] who took part in the Crusades, one of Christianity's many "outreach projects." Unfortunately, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was captured by foreigners and taken to a filthy dungeon in exotic Jerusalem. Luckily, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves escaped, and along the way became pals with Morgan Freeman. Together, the two returned to England—only to find that while Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was off on his damn-fool idealistic crusade, England had been conquered by the Sheriff of Nottingham and an evil witch! Vowing to free his beloved homeland, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and Morgan Freeman moved into a h-h-haunted forest, where, along with Little John, Friar Tuck, and Christian Slater, they became terrorists. Then a maid, Maid Marian, fell in love with Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves [she saw him swimming naked], the Sheriff of Nottingham died [I forget how], and Sean Connery showed up and threw a party [cool!]. And thus Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves became Robin Hood: King of Thieves, the first President of the United States and the man who laid the groundwork for the equitably shared wealth that we all enjoy today. History! I can't get enough of it!)

So you can see why attending the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival—an event that appears to be based entirely around the fairly underwhelming fact that Sherwood, Oregon, happens to share a name with Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, England—was my Worst. Night. Ever. What if they got some historical detail wrong? THAT'D DRIVE ME NUTS! Or, even worse, what if Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves wasn't even there? Or, even worse, what if the Sheriff of Nottingham's evil witch was there instead?

Still, the die had been cast, and the decision made. So I put on my finest jorts, spent a few minutes thinking about the lessons we can all learn from the historical saga of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (swim naked to meet ladies), and then drove out to Sherwood. My spirits were high! I'd make the best of this yet!


A terrible time.
  • A terrible time.



A great time!
  • A great time!

The first thing I realized was that I was underdressed! Just about everyone there was in "historick garbe"—clothing that made them feel as if they were living in the ancient, primordial era of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves! "Well," I thought, "When in Rome!" To "blend in," I spent several dollars to purchase myself a very fine Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves thievin' cap, lovingly made out of felt, garnished with a peacock feather and a sticker, and coming in a dazzling variety of jaunty colors.

Hat attack!
  • Hat attack!

Then it was time to "see the sights," which began with a merry promenade of vendors and entertainers. It really did feel like we were right there in England! Or so I would assume. I have never been to England, and have no idea what I'm talking about.

A merry group of merry-makers!
  • A merry group of Sherwoodian merry-makers!

Shortly after that, it was time to visit the porta-potties. Allow me to say this: They were remarkably pleasant. All too often, the use of a porta-potty is an experience best left unmentioned and best forgotten, but those at the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival were, exceedingly clean and functional. I would give these portable toilets five stars, if anyone ever did things like rank portable toilets. For reasons of modesty, I did not take a picture while I was inside.


And then it was time for the grandest event the Sherwood Robin Hood Festval has to offer: the Summer Parade! "We welcome parade participants with family-friendly entries from near and far," the festival website proclaims. "Creativity is the hallmark of this parade."


Stormtroopers wearing Robin Hood hats?
  • Stormtroopers wearing Robin Hood hats?

A scout trooper wearing a Robin Hood hat and pretending to shoot a small child?
  • A scout trooper wearing a Robin Hood hat and pretending to shoot a small child?

US Bank employees being towed by a tractor, which, who knows, maybe they helped finance?
  • US Bank employees being towed by a tractor that maybe they helped finance or something?

A semi truck getting stuck while turning for like 10 minutes?
  • A semi truck getting stuck for like 10 minutes while trying to make a turn?

Maid Marians, and the kind of weird way this guy parted his hair?
  • A waving flock of Maid Marians, and the kind of weird way this guy parts his hair?

THERE WAS OTHER STUFF TOO, that I didn't get pictures of, because everyone on floats was throwing out candy and that is super distracting because hey, free candy! Kids kept darting right out in front of floats to pick up candy off the street! I did not see any children die, but I wouldn't be surprised if that happened when I wasn't looking. Maybe that stormtrooper should have actually shot that one kid, just to teach the other children that one's actions have consequences.

But oh, that other stuff! Oh man! Apparently every dentist in Sherwood takes part in the parade, and each one apparently tries to outdo the others to look the most successful? Usually this just came down to how nice their car was, but the dentist who clearly won (IMHO) was the dentist who had a car PULLING A BOAT. Dentist rivalries are great—dentists have to have hobbies too!—but when one dentist has a fucking boat, one kind of has to just take a step back, shake one's head, and think, C'mon, other Sherwood dentists. Give up already, for you have lost; the time has come for you to find another career.

There were also police and firemen, and the police had like... military vehicles and stuff? Like armored tank-cars? Which not only seemed super unnecessary in Sherwood, Oregon, but also, nobody seemed at all freaked out by? Despite recent events? Possibly because the police in them were throwing out candy?

Oh, and Renaissance faire-style cosplayers, and horses and marching bands, and a lot of people dressed up like Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, or kings, or queens, or princesses. There were also more than a few young women dressed up as badass, Katniss-style archers, and many of them were very pretty, but I did not take any pictures of them because I didn't want to seem like a pervert.


SPEAKING OF PERVERTS! There was also a racecar—I shit you not, an itty-bitty little racecar

*tiny little racecar noise*
  • *tiny little racecar noise*

—bearing the URL for That, turns out, belongs to the Beaverton-based "NorthWest Coalition for Healthy Intimacy," "an organization dedicated to empowering and supporting adults, teens, children, families and communities in building healthy relationships and educating about the negative effects of pornography and unhealthy sexualization."

Now, look: (A) The Prude Brigade wasn't throwing out any candy at all, and (B) I don't know if this guy drives around all the time in his little or if he saves it for special occasions (like when he knows he'll get to drive behind Star Wars characters), but I do know that if you're worried about the negative effects of pornography and unhealthy sexualization, you can get a discount for one one of the NorthWest Coalition of Healthy Intimacy's anti-porn seminars by using the promo code ROBINHOOD.

Now thats just savvy marketing!
  • Now THAT'S savvy marketing!

That promo code is either directly targeted at Sherwood's fuck-crazed, come-slathered sex deviants OR directly targeted at anyone who's ever seen this 35mm erotic adventure.

Really? They didnt go for the Robin Wood joke?
  • Really? Not "Robin Wood"? Hope someone got FIRED

Moving on from the parade and its anti-porn zealots in MarioKarts, there was also a fantastic castle contest, where castles made by children were on display! These castles! They were made out of all kinds of crap! And you know what? I take back what I said to everyone on Facebook who I unfriended because they posted too many pictures of their useless kids: Children really are the future, especially if you define "the future" as "good at half-assedly gluing some crap together." What kind of crap, you ask? WELL, HOW ABOUT...

Cupcakes! Would have been better with an actual cupcake.
  • Cupcakes! Should have used an actual cupcake. C-

Corox WetWand boxes! I give this a C, the flag is pointing in the wrong direction.
  • Corox WetWand boxes! Flag pointing in wrong direction. D-

Garbage! Uh... B, I guess, its the first time Ive seen a castle made of garbage
  • Garbage! First time I've seen a garbage castle! I guess this gets a B

Ewoks! Sherwood LOVES Star Wars. F—because a parent CLEARLY helped with this.
  • Ewoks! Sherwood LOVES Star Wars! A parent clearly helped with this. F

Okay, fine, thats pretty impressive. D-
  • Okay, fine, that's pretty impressive. F+



Did you know that the Battle Wagon that belonged to Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was, in fact, the very same Battle Wagon used in a galaxy far, far away by the Ewoks in their fight against the Galactic Empire? It's strange... but true.

Gimme some of that sweet history! I can't get enough of it!


***FOR NOW***

There's a bunch of other stuff I didn't have room to mention here, or that I wasn't quick enough to take pictures of. SUCH AS...

• A bunch of stages with high schoolers dancing on them!
• A teenager with a magic marker mustache who was dressed as a sinister wizard!
• Swords! Swords you could buy! But I spent all my money on that stupid hat :(
• Shaved ice!
• An archery competition that took place at a separate location in Sherwood but it was really hot out so I didn't go to that!
• A very nice park just a short walk away from the Robin Hood Festival that was so goddamn nice it made me want to move to Sherwood, so maybe that's where I'll move once I can't afford to live in Portland anymore!
• Musicians! Okay, I did get a picture of these guys!

Hands down, the best N.W.A. cover band Ive ever heard.
  • Hands down the best N.W.A. cover band I've ever heard.

Now, not to get too tied up in the "details," but to my highly trained eye, there were, of course, a few small things that would have greatly improved the accuracy and excitement of the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival... yet were, mysteriously, nowhere to be seen. FOR EXAMPLE...

• Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
• Morgan Freeman
• Christian Slater
• Christian Slater driving the
• Christian Slater crashing the
• Christian Slater jokingly blaming the crash on the Star Wars nerds
• The Star Wars nerds jovially laughing off Christian Slater's hilarious accusations
• Christian Slater getting really intense and saying "I'm not joking," but whispering it, really quiet, but really intensely, so that everyone suddenly realizes he's dead serious
• Everyone going silent and scared
• Morgan Freeman fixing it
• Everyone laughing in relief and eating filthy fucking candy their useless children picked up off the street
• Sean Connery throwing a party

And so, as a "history buff," I must probe myself with a searing question: Could the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival be a touch more historically accurate to the thrilling life and loves of Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves? Certainly. But were these glaring historical oversights and shameful inaccuracies enough to keep me from enjoying myself all the same? Hardly.

Look, I expected to be a real Worf about this—

—because for you, I've had to do a lot of shit for Worst. Night. Ever. I've attended a burlesque show, I've been humiliated at a bicycle race, I survived a super-creepy doll show, and I've been trapped on a boat cruise for Mormon singles.

And now, dear readers, I've gone to the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival. And I had a great time! And maybe... just maybe... you did too. (If you also went.)

A great time!

A great time!

A great time!

A great time!