Become a Builder at the Fairy House Festival on Sept 28th and 29th
Fairy schools, fairy libraries, fairy pirate ships, fairy hot air balloons, fairy discos … what will the Fairy Village look like this year? As visitors walk along the woodland path and discover an enchanted Village, each fairy house shows the creative generosity of our community. Every year the Fairy House Festival thrills and inspires over 1200 visitors from all over New England, and we couldn’t do it without you, our dedicated Volunteers and Builders.
Fairy House Festival is on Sept 28th and 29th and now’s the time to sign up and start dreaming!
In the months leading up to the festival, volunteers for The Nature Museum are pulling on their hiking boots and heading out the door, combing fields, stream banks, forests, and hilltops with a basket in hand. These volunteers are foraging for moss, bark, pine cones, twigs, pebbles, acorns, and other natural materials. With these earthy ingredients, they will craft this year’s fairy house village. Natural materials will also be available at the festival, where the museum’s gardens become a fairy house construction zone, and festival attendees young and old are able to create little homes, and leave them there overnight, for the garden fairies to nest in.
Jeanne Waldren, the former Youth Services Librarian at the Whiting Library in Chester, first built a fairy house for the festival in 2012. An experienced volunteer, she has built dozens of fairy structures with her grandchildren and with the children at the Whiting Library over the years, sharing the creative process with the next generation.
“The imagination can go wild,” says Waldren. “Nothing is as exciting as picturing a place for the smallest creatures imaginable to get out of the rain and get a good night’s sleep.” Ms. Waldren is working again with the kids at the Whiting Library to build a fairy structure for this year’s festival. When asked if she had ever seen one of the fairies staying in her houses, she responded: “I haven’t seen a fairy because they are so clever; but I have found the fairy dust left after their visit!”
Celia Bohannon of Saxtons River, who built fairy houses in her childhood and now creates them with her grandchildren for the museum’s festival, recommends birch bark to new builders: “It’s easy to find around here, on limbs or branches already on the ground. The bark can be sturdy or flexible, large or small, round or flat, white or shades of brown. A hot-glue gun works well on it, and you can even use a long sharp needle and invisible thread to attach decorations to it or fasten pieces together.” Kate DesLauriers, a Girl Scout Troop leader and mother from Chester who has been a volunteer for The Nature Museum for seven years, says her favorite material to work with is moss, which can fill in cracks and cover other materials.
If you haven’t built with us in the past, read on for more details and building tips:
Your fairy house structure needs to be built ahead of the event and installed on The Nature Museum’s fairy trail on Friday, September 27th between 10 AM and 6 PM. When you arrive with your exhibit on Friday, you will find an open site along the Fairy Trail to install your piece.
Your site may be reserved in advance if you would like to walk the trail prior to Friday and select your site.
We now have an easily accessible portion of the Fairy House Village set aside for both Builders and festival visitors who would appreciate less walking and smoother access.
Houses may be any size and the theme of the house may be anything you wish — we’re creating a village and each year we are delighted by fairy schools, fairy cafes, fairy discos, and simple and elaborate fairy homes. Some Fairy Houses are light-hearted and cozy, while others are spell-binding and intricate.
Please use natural materials – feathers, dry grasses, leaves, sticks, pebbles, shells, bark from a fallen tree, milkweed, moss, nuts, pods, acorns, berries, gourds, miniature pumpkins, pinecones. Birch bark is an excellent building material.
All fairy houses must appear to be made entirely of natural components. Hot glue, acrylic spray, natural twine and other man-made items can be used but should be concealed by natural elements.
Platforms or man-made support materials can be used for easier delivery and transport, but must be concealed with natural materials when installed on-site.