Last weekend I went on a faerie hunt. Joyfully attending the 11th annual Maryland Faerie Festival in Darlington, Maryland at Camp Ramblewood with some dear friends; Deb and her little daughter Lulu (The Dad part of the team, David, had to work work work.). It was my first faerie festival! And Deb and Lulu’s first camping experience (we stayed the night and camped right on the grounds).
Faerie Deb setting up her first camp
A little about the Festival, this from the website:
“The MD Faerie Festival is dedicated to providing atmosphere and entertainment inspired and informed by Faerie literature, folklore, myth, and of course the Faeries themselves. (Yes! We believe!) Through these things we hope to reinforce the values of love, cooperation, peace, and respect for all beings.”
“Maryland Faeries promote the stewardship of nature, outdoor education, and sponsor faerie artists, merchants and entertainment. As a 501c-3 nonprofit organization, the Maryland Faerie Festival provides educational and outreach opportunities for groups whose mission also encourages love, cooperation, peace, harmony and respect for all beings.”
Camp Ramblewood, where the Fest takes place, is tucked in the scenic hills of rural Maryland among the woods and farms there.
Despite the wicked heat we had an amazing beautiful time. Music and a Faerie Fashion Show, a wishing tree, a build a faerie house area and a May Pole, and many other family friendly activities abounded. Art, dance, theatre, magic, and faeries were everywhere. Unfortunately we could not make it to all and moved at a very heat appropriate pace (slow). I’ll just touch on a few of the things we experienced.
So the first thing was getting our faerie glam going. Yes, we flitted in on our gossamer wings all glittered up, but we were tempted to glam up even more with help from the exquisite creations of the many artist/vendors- masks, wings, hats, horns, hairs, umbrellas… and
Elven Ear sale Elf at The Elven Caravan
The Hornie Lady! (horns and also a sci-fi publisher)
The costume selection is so great, one could completely outfit oneself right there at the festival with help from the vendors. Lots of faerie glamour to be found!
Incidentally – The word Glamour comes from folklore referring to the way in which faeries would disguise themselves from Mortal eyes. Or perhaps the faeries would glamorize some old dried leaves and sticks to appear as a sumptuous feast. Interesting, eh?
The Festival warms the heart. The many artists, entertainers, dancers (belly dancers!), writers, costumers and free thinking sorts wending their way through the world on their own terms – truly an inspiration.
Mr. Donnelly’s scholarly knowledge of history and combat choreography is prolifically expressed in print and film. Then he has this amazing umbrella and cane shop with antique and restored umbrellas and canes. Less like a hobby shop, and more like a gentle museum of times gone by. I regret my video of him demonstrating a relumbrator (oh, jeez, I think I botched the spelling of that name) did not come out. It’s an umbrella where you push a wee button and it does this crazy dynamic opening thing. Very Steampunk.
Mark P Donnelly showing an itsy bitsy umbrella for a grown woman from the mid/late 1800’s used essentially as a visor, since the user would already sport a huge hat during that period.
posing with the umbrellas
Additionally, I’m looking forward to burying my nose in author Ben Anderson’s fantasy novel The McGunnegal Chronicles. A book developed from bedtime stories he told to his children. Awwww.
Author Ben Anderson
I also enjoyed several of the many great live music acts!
Tower Green – Folksy medieval renaissance music with amplification. Loved the hurdy gurdy!
We also enjoyed Wendy Rule – Notable and inspiring songs, with one about Little Red Riding Hood who decides she’d rather run off with the wolf, instead of run away from it! Her site reveals she also leads magical online inspiring and empowering classes. Those sound amazing.
The entire festival was alive with Goblins, Mermaids and Faeries of all sorts. Here is a little photo gallery. I apologize deeply I don’t have names, if you have a name for a pic – let me know and I’ll add it!
Kind hearted and fun Jasif Jabobski (with Lulu) – Snake Swords Performer
Rawbin Heintz Anderson
James McGrath – Goblin
Faerie art by ToadstoolsNTreestump
Faerie art by ToadstoolsNTreestump
and our Lulu…
Experiencing the festival with Lulu (age 6) really brought home the magic. Seeing it all through her eyes… What a wonderland for her. She made a new friend, Sarah, they built faerie houses, listened to story tellers, and stayed up far past their bedtimes belly dancing at the Faerie Ball.
Here’s the thing. When you are hunting faeries, you are really hunting yourself. That magical part of you connected to spirit and earth through play.
An activity at the Festival encouraged contemplation of what sort of Faerie you are by which element you connect with. Are you a water mermaid, dreamy and emotional? An airy fairy with stories and imagination galore? A fire sprite with passion and movement, or a grounded earth fey?
“What sort of faerie am I, auntie Doreen?” Lulu’s face, all wide-open-book-to-be-read.
I hesitate, wanting her to claim her own faerie without my influence. We look into each other eyes, and souls. Anything is possible. Hmmm, yes… What sort of faeries ARE we? There is magic.
And then later, the next day “What sort of faerie am I now?” More magic. And again, still later she asks, from the car at the airport, as we bid adieu.
Lulu, diving deep into her individual mythos and creating herself by play in this phantasmagorical world. Ah Lulu, I’m back in Chicago now and you are in Maryland, in your faerie garden, what sort of faerie are you now? What sort of faerie will you become?
I am filled with gratitude to all who dream and play. To those who made the the Faerie Festival a reality. My dear friends, Deb, David, and Lulu forever infinite thank youse. And of course a million gratitudes to all the festival goers – and especially the folks of the Maryland Faerie Festival.
Lovely faerie play houses…
So that’s all for now, my fey friends. I leave you with a lace rainbow…
a wishing tree…
and some dreamy advice…
And now it’s your turn to fess up, wild ones! Who wants to run away with the faeries with me? Or who went and is going back?