(Click any of the images for a larger version.)
Faerieworlds is a favourite family tradition. My daughter and I attend, and Mark, Dennis and my mom support our attendance. I don’t know how we first heard about it, but when Tara was 8 years old we heard about a gathering of faeries in our home state, and decided it would be fun to attend.
That first year we all went down to Veneta, Oregon (girls in butterfly faerie wings, boy without costume) and wandered the grounds of the Secret House Winery that had been transformed into a magical land. It only took that year to get hooked. We went back to Veneta the following year without Mark, who felt that one year was enough to get a sense of what it was all about.
For Tara and I, the step into Faerieworlds is not so different from what I imagine a step inside a mushroom faerie ring might be. Things seem familiar, but are not. At any moment an unexpected being of an unexpected size will surface and delight us with fearful antics or silly blessings of joy and fun. We don’t attend to get a look at it. We go there to be a part of it. And the transformation is so effective we can’t resist returning year after year.
This year was the second time the festival was held at Mt. Pisgah in Buford Park outside of Eugene, Oregon. Organizers took the many comments from last year’s unbearably hot festival weekend and made drastic improvements to the temporary world of fae. We had plenty of shade and a well-organized village around two stages.
Splendid musical acts are, of course, a staple of Faerieworlds, as are the plethora of food tents and the selling of wares. Also standard are fae creatures that are at home in this festival that may not be perfectly suited at other kinds of festivals.
Here there be dragons! Gnomes, Green Men, angels, demons, devils, centaurs, and fauns. There are also beings to defy description – as one would certainly expect to find in a world of faeries – such as wild men in furs and tribal paints, children wrapped in vines, women adorned in lights and glittering metallic talismans and carrying magical staffs and crowns. We spotted a visit from a Na’vi this year.
The Froud family has become a fave tradition, as well. I have had the honor of receiving autographs and quick sketches from one of my favourite artists of all time: Brian Froud. His artist wife, Wendy, also subjects herself to fan admiration. This year was the first I spoke to Toby Froud, newly married and beaming. I complimented him on his stellar cameo acting in the movie Labyrinth, as Toby, the baby. He remarked that it had gone so well he had not acted in another movie since. (remember The Babe With the Power?) Do visit the World of Froud.
The variety of wings never ceases to amaze me. There are fur wings, and feathered wings. Wings of gauze and bronze leaf and leather. Wings made of lace, or of leaves, or of branches and wires and stones. Wingspans of 25 feet and delicate insect wings 8 inches across. They flow in the wind, hold stationary, explode to their full capacity when the cameras come out, illuminate, jingle, rustle, or sparkle in the sunlight.
Without Mark, we feel free to stay and soak it all up until we are exhausted. That means we are able to enjoy even more of the music, that becomes more wild, expressive, and thunderous as the sun sets.
This year I wore a costume my mother sewed for me. I used to attend Renaissance Faires, and she began working on it with that in mind. She sent me the dress the week before Faerieworlds in hopes that I would be able to wear it (keeping in mind my weight changes and the potential heat waves in central Oregon). It fit, and the day was pleasantly warm rather than oppressively hot, and the costume was perfect and gorgeous. I even had a few people ask me to stop for a photo.
We stayed till it was dark and remained rather blissfully happy the entire time. We ate food from the realm with abandon, and I was disappointed to have left with ease, rather than remain trapped there under the spell, as faery food has been known to affect people.
Oh, and PLEASE check out the rest of my photos, for a bit more of a sense of the place. Keep in mind it’s a three day festival, and we were there for only one.