Historically, Faerieworlds in Eugene, Oregon has always been in August. In 2009 the venue moved to a very exposed location during the same year that a heat wave hit on Faerieworlds weekend. There were many sunburns and unhappy people. The following year event planners tried to remedy the situation with a greater amount of constructed shade areas. This year, the event was changed to the second week in June.
I wonder if the new date was a result of trying to make conditions better for festival attendees. June sounded to me at once like a poor choice because in Portland June is consistently cold and wet. Eugene may have better weather, but I was doubtful. My prediction came true, and this year, for the first time ever, Faerieworlds was cold and wet. The grounds were muddy, our wings filled with water droplets, damp dead grass clung to us. *sigh!* Why would they take my favourite holiday and move it into my least favourite weather?
But I suppose faeries are creatures of nature and thus should gracefully accept raindrops as easily as sunshine.
We got a very late start to our day. Miss T had stayed the previous night with friends on the other side of the river (so FAR away, ha ha), and so I had to retrieve her. When she got home she had to pack for summer at dad’s. We’ve been so busy I had completely forgotten to have her pack earlier. We finally set off for the two and a half hour drive, arriving late afternoon, which is totally out of character for me. I’ve had a drastically full two weeks, and I simply couldn’t pull it all together to get there at the moment the gates open, like usual. Besides, as Tara kindly reminded me, the festival carries on till well into the night, so arriving late is really no loss. It’s Solstice time anyway, so the sun remains up as long as possible for our benefit.
Tara left my side immediately once we entered the faery realm, which was fine with me. Thus, I was alone when I wandered past Brian Froud, one of my favourite artists of all time (cherish the Pressed Fairy Book). I interrupted his talk with another man to gush a little at him, and make my best (albeit poor) attempt at a compliment/request for photo op. Mr. Froud graciously acquiesced, and I am terribly grateful. His wife, Wendy, is an equally talented artist. However, I prefer his work because he tends more often toward the grotesque and bizarre, which somehow is more beautiful to me. Does that make any kind of sense?
I browsed the tents of wares quickly, mindful of the gathering gloom. Steampunk faeries have a burgeoning population in the past two years, and now have their own kisosks. Despite the rain, the ubiquitous faery children ran rampant, leaping and shrieking with joy amongst the creature children who joined them. I never tire of the variety of characters who attend. Many creatures I cannot describe: only that they are otherworldly. There are fae folk, and dragons, a surprising number of pirates! There are fauns and dark, creepy souls, as well as wizards and angels.
Perhaps also because of past years’ complaints of the heat, this year the faire reached farther into the forest than before…and it was the pirate’s realm. There was a life-sized ship constructed (but only from the deck up, using the grass as the deck – it was cool), and trails (if you dare!) into the trees, as well as a second stage and a puppet theatre. Back in the trees was a shrine constructed by the Lost Boys.
Miss T occasionally found me and begged for money, but otherwise, I barely saw her. She made friends in a hair-braiding tent, and ended up spending a huge amount of time there. A bored friend in the tent paid for her to get braid after braid, and she was thrilled with all of it.
Periodically I brought her food while she repeatedly had her hair done. I wandered and smiled and shared pleasantries with the fae folk, even though I was dressed rather devilishly due to it being Bad Faeries Day. (no one passed judgement :o) I got to talk to Toby Froud a little. Talked to him more last year. He’s a super sweet guy, very pleasant. Love that British accent. This year his costume was to die for! The BEST faun legs I’ve ever, ever seen.
Ahhh, it’s a scrumptious tradition. This was our fifth year and I hope the habit doesn’t fade. From what I can tell, the festival grows larger every year. I will still cross my fingers for more sun and less rain at faery gatherings in the future.