CAMDEN — Every year on June 24, nations "put aside the cynicism of the modern world and embrace the possibilities of the unknown, and believe in fairies…" so says the International Fairy Day credo.
In celebration of this day, Merryspring Nature Center is hosting its first Summer Fairy Festival Saturday, June 22, from 10 a.m. to noon. This free event will feature a variety of family and fairy-friendly activities and crafts. Natural materials will be on hand to build fairy gardens, design wildflower seed packets, create magic wands out of natural materials, and more. Local author and fairy expert Liza Gardner Walsh will read from and sign copies of her new book, The Fairy Garden Handbook, at 11:15 a.m.
For kids, this is guaranteed to be fun, but what will be interesting is to see how many grown-up kids attend. How many adults will be crouching in the dirt, deep in concentration, building infratstructure out of twigs, shed roofs out of birch bark?
In Walsh's blog, she writes:
Some of you may remember when you built your very first fairy house and knew by instinct exactly how to do it. I bet you will have the same feeling with your fairy garden once you get a couple of gardening techniques down. Plus, you will probably have amazing ideas like my friend, Ian, who wanted to make a beetle stable in his fairy garden because the fairies like to get rides from beetles. The possibilities are limitless.
In order to "put aside the cycnicism of the modern world" Working Waterfront writer, Tina Cohen, who reviewed Walsh's first book, came up with an insightful look at the darker side of the fairy world. In her essay, "Empathy for Fairies," she alludes that the old-fashioned fairytale troll may be no different than the modern-day Internet bully troll and encourages kids to explore empathy for these damaged souls when constructing natural little houses.
An excerpt from Cohen's piece:
While tending the fairies is laudable, it’s also okay to dabble on the darker side, building houses for goblins and trolls. This is good exercise in practicing empathy for those we might find difficult to appreciate or avoid in life. “What do you gather for these types of houses? Anything nasty, cracked or broken. Bring a bucket and fill it with mud… and whatever rotting things you can find.” Walsh concludes, “The very best thing about making a house for these somewhat unpopular creatures is that they will know you are trying to help them.”
This free event is open to the public. No sign-up is required. Check for cancellation in case of rainy weather. For more information, visit fairyhousehandbook.com.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com.