Archery takes a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of fun. There’s no better evidence of this than an archery festival, where passionate archers come from all around to celebrate the sport, enjoy some laughs, and build a community. With more and more festivals popping up all over the country and gaining interest, there’s likely one near you.
Types of Archery Festivals
Believe it or not, there’s actually a wide range of different festivals devoted to archery. Some are basically casual tournaments with some activities and food trucks to the side while others are elaborate affairs involving live music on grand stages, barbecues, and plenty else to entertain non-archers as well.
Here are some loose categories of archery festival:
General festival: Geared towards families, these festivals have shooting ranges in addition to plenty of activities for kids like balloon shoots and non-archery games. There’s usually food and live music too.
Bowhunting festival: These festivals may have food stalls and entertainment as well, but they’re geared more towards bowhunters. As a result, they’re in natural landscapes and focus on fun, unique 3D targets. There may also be camping and hiking.
Renaissance festival: Since archery was such an important part of Medieval life, Renaissance festivals almost always feature archery demonstrations or activities. Although there are far too many Renaissance fairs for us to include them all below, we tried to find the ones most focused on archery.
Archery Festivals vs Tournaments
Below we’ve collected some of the nation’s most popular archery festivals. These are not tournaments. Tournaments are competitive in nature, and while some of the festivals may have some shooting competitions, that’s not their focus. Instead, they’re just about enjoying and exploring archery in a fun setting. They include food, activities, and music, things tournaments lack, and they do not have an elaborately organized tournament schedule.
Tournaments are usually held by clubs or other organizations and may be part of a larger national structure. We recommend using USA Archery’s tool if you’re interested in finding tournaments near you.
But if you want to find a festival, just keep reading…
Popular Archery Festivals
ATA Trade Show
Host Organization: Archery Trade Association
Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Dates: Mid January
While not exactly a “festival,” the annual ATA trade show is a lot different than a tournament with plenty of fun events for people who like archery. For example, the trade show includes an entire film festival devoted to hunting-themed short films. There are also a number of specialty nights at bars and restaurants near the convention center such as Pint Night at the Slippery Noodle. Whether you’re involved in the archery industry or just a fan of the sport, it’s a fun experience.
Mountain Archery Fest
Host Organization: Mountain Archery Fest
|Durango, Colorado||Late May|
|Beaver, Utah||Late June|
|Shell, Wyoming||Early July|
|Mullan, Idaho||Mid July|
|Lakeside, Montana||Late July|
If you live out west, Mountain Archery Fest is great because it’s held throughout the year at various locations, mostly ski resorts. In addition to fun events like live concerts, cornhole tournaments, and novelty archery performances, there are plenty of target competitions and courses for you to improve your skills.
Total Archery Challenge
Host Organization: Black Rifle Coffee Company, PSE Archery, Others
The Total Archery Challenge is mostly devoted to target shooting, but they make it clear this isn’t a competition. It’s just about having fun. That’s why they create unique ranges with 3D targets in challenging, natural situations, all in some of the most beautiful locations in the country. While it’s mostly about the shooting, there are some afterparties and other non-archery events too.
Archery Fest at Montage Mountain
Host Organization: High Tines Archery
Location: Scranton, Pennsylvania
Dates: Early June
This short archery festival located at the Montage Mountain ski resort near Scranton, Pennsylvania, includes several target ranges and competitions. It’s more than that, though. There’s also live music, giveaways, and local vendors.
Sherwood Robin Hood Festival
Host Organization: Sherwood Robin Hood Festival Association
Location: Sherwood, Oregon
Dates: Mid July
Presumably inspired by their town’s name, the town of Sherwood, Oregon, has been holding an archery festival since the 50s. It involves Medieval reenactments, a parade, contests, live music, and food and drink from local establishments. There’s even an annual archery tournament between the archers of Sherwood and Nottingham, England, Robin Hood’s hometown.
Host Organization: Mont du Lac Resort, Scheels
Location: Superior, Wisconsin
Dates: Mid July
BowFest is the world’s largest outdoor archery festival and includes tons of target ranges as well as live music from big names. It draws many people from the industry including a lot of celebrities, and it’s just a beautiful location. If you’re a die-hard archery fan, you have to go at least once in your life.
Pennsylvania Archery Festivals
Host Organization: Pennsylvania Wilds
Location: Morris, Pennsylvania
|Sawmill Traditional Archery Rendezvous||Late June|
|Eastern Traditional Archery Rendezvous||Late July|
|Pennsylvania Wilds Archery Fest||Late August|
These three events are quite similar, all devoted to traditional archery and bowhunting and located at the beautiful Ski Sawmill Resort. In addition to numerous 3D archery courses, there are around 100 vendors, kids events, seminars, and primitive camping opportunities.
R100 Shoot National Archery Tour
Host Organization: Rinehart Targets
Dates: Usually Summer
R100 is a 3D archery circuit that travels around the country. Local clubs can arrange to host their range of 50 3D targets that include novelty targets like a giraffe, T-rex, and bigfoot. It’s all family-friendly and a great way to get kids interested in archery.
Hike to Hunt Archery Challenge
Host Organization: Hike to Hunt
Location: Mountain West
This is another 3D archery circuit that hosts a number of events in the American West dedicated to fun, creative 3D archery courses. It’s mostly just shooting with few side events, but there are a lot of camping and hiking opportunities to enjoy the beautiful landscape
Western NY Bowhunting Festival
Host Organization: Swain Resort
Location: Swain, New York
Dates: Late August
Each year the Swain ski resort in western New York State hosts a renowned bowhunting festival. In addition to some competitive shoots, there are a lot of kids events, courses, and live music combined with food and beverages from local vendors.
PA Bowhunters Festival
Host Organization: Pennsylvania Bowhunters Festival Committee
Location: Forksville, Pennsylvania
Dates: Mid September
This festival is the oldest gathering of bowhunters in the world and one of the largest too with thousands of attendees each year. The entire event is dedicated to bowhunting specifically, not just archery, and there are a lot of simulated hunting target shoots. Additionally, archery vendors and local establishments come to set up booths. There’s live entertainment as well.
Beast Mode Archery Challenge
Host Organization: Tyrol Basin
Location: Mt Horeb, Wisconsin
Dates: Year Round
This one’s a bit unique as it combines extreme fitness with archery. Think the Spartan Challenge with a bow. There are both training camps and extreme events such as cold weather archery.