GRAFTON, Vt. – According to folklore, one must work very hard to capture a fairy. But it’s much easier to capture the spirit of the fairies, and that is exactly what the Nature Museum in Grafton has done with last weekend’s annual Fairy House Festival.
The Britannica definition of fairy is “a mythical being of folklore and romance usually having magic powers and dwelling on earth in close relationship with humans… and characteristically exercising magic powers to benevolent ends.” Fairies are said to live in the woods. What better place to find a collection of their houses than at a nature museum?
For 11 years, the Nature Museum has had its Fairy House Festival as its principal fundraiser. This year is counted as the 12th annual event though last year had no festival due to Covid. The main attraction has been its miniature fairy houses made of all natural materials and all handmade by volunteers. They are displayed along a nature trail behind the museum.
This year, there were 37 houses, each unique in its own way. In addition, there were a number of vendors, food, music, and displays including a crafts tent where anyone could make a fairyhouse of their own.
Former Director Vanessa Stern was back dressed as a fairy queen. She said, “I’m so happy to be back. It’s a glorious day, so glad to see the whole thing resurrected.”
Board Chair Lorie Danforth, also dressed as a fairy queen, said, “The festival is our unique way of connecting all ages to the wonders of nature. It’ll change your life. People start looking at things in a new way.”
Current Director Nick Katrick was there in a wolf hat overseeing his first festival. He said, “It’s a brand new experience for me, a great intersection of nature and magic. It’s great to connect with nature, but the sense of wonder is equally important.” Previously an educator at the museum, he has spent most of the past year working on programs. He said, “Even though we have to wear masks, it’s great to see people again.”
Folklore also says that fairies are shy around humans. Sadly, none came out of their houses to be interviewed. Humans Jess and Matt Willis brought their three children for their second festival saying they missed not having one last year. Jess said, “We love it. We have been inside like everybody else. It’s great to be outdoors. We’re excited to be a part of it, to watch the kids be inspired.”
Holly Hjelt, a teacher from Manchester there with her 8-year-old, said she was “inspired to get her class out on the nature trail.” She was already making plans for her own classes. She added, “I need to tell the people here how much fun it was.”
Linda Bryant, a vendor from Mystical Maidens Pixie Pop Princess, had sold out of her wood crafts for kids.
Board member and Vermont Legislator Leslie Goldman said, “I just love watching families have fun together. That’s the fun of the day watching kids leave with the things that they made.”