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A magnificent ocean-dweller, on land for a time.

Yesterday I showed scenes of Faerieworlds 2019 so that I could try to bring you with me. Now that you have a sense of the setting, let me introduce you to some of the citizens. If you want to see all of my photos and get a real sense of it all, please visit my Flickr page.

The festival is three days long and I have never attended more than one day. Most people camp on site, and live fully in the realm. Friday used to be a work day for me, and Sunday used to be a half day, so Saturday was always my top choice. This year when I do not have work on Friday and Sunday was a full festival day, I found that I was still only able to make it on Saturday. The fae folk often have new outfits on each day, so imagine how much more there is to see if one is there three days in a row.

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In the following photos, you’ll see Toby Froud. He is fantasy royalty, and one of my favourite celebrities. I’ve spoken with him a little in previous years, even included his photo once before. Toby is the son of Brian and Wendy Froud, of whom I am also a huge fan. Brian Froud’s faery art is what made me realize I am in love with faeries. Wendy Froud’s puppets in the movie The Dark Crystal are something I’ll never forget. I spotted him this year when he paused to talk to some folks outside the beer garden, where I was sitting with a pint and chatting with a wizard. I gasped, “Is that Toby Froud?” The wizard turned to look and then confirmed for me, “Yes, it is.” It did occur to me that I was in my element when not only did I not have to explain who Toby Froud was, but the total stranger sitting next to me also recognized Toby Froud on sight. Nerds of the world, Unite!

I had seen something in an article about Toby living in Portland, and when I left the beer garden to go talk to him, I asked him when he lived there. “I’m still there!” he said. “I’ve lived in Portland for ten years!” I am astonished. He’s been here all along, and now I am even more delighted. He said he moved here from England for work, and listed off some of the places he has lent his talents (including Laika), where he worked on the movie the Box Trolls and the TV series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and then talked up his next project. If I was a better fan, I would remember what it was. Instead, I was proud of myself just for not passing out.

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I am happy to have finally been forced to figure out how to use the Word Press gallery option. It’s a good way to smash entirely too many photos into a single post.

I can never have too many sparkly things.

This post is out of order. I have wonderful stories to tell you about what happened before Faerieworlds 2019. But I do know that faeries, sprites, goblins, pirates, mermaids and all sorts of folk will be combing the Internet looking for photos of themselves this week. For their sake, I’m posting now, though today’s post will be scenes and not characters. (Hey faeries! Go look at my flickr page too!)

I have been attending Faerieworlds since 2007 when it was in Veneta, Oregon. Then it moved to Mt. Pisgah in Eugene. Now it’s up north here in Hillsboro, which is conveniently close. It’s a three-day musical festival with a faery theme. All manner of magical creatures show up, including goblins and elves, dragons, unicorns, and the Green Man, and things that have no name, like a man made of rocks. The best thing about Faerieworlds is the atmosphere, which welcomes everyone, and that means everyone. So if you are in a costume that does not fit the theme, you are appreciated just as much. With that in mind, I pulled out my Renaissance Faire dress that my mother made for me, added green and blue gauzy wings and a flower crown. And lots of sparkly things. Because this faery loves sparkly things.

The setting is in this forest, beside this lake.

There was a pirate ship in the forest, but not on the lake!

Vendors set up tents that fit the theme and are lovely to see and to walk through.

Here Herb Leonhard holds court in his artistic realm.

A copper merchant sells a vessel to a crow.

“Take me home”

Fairy lamps

Tents are arranged into little villages of commerce.

Visitors can browse the tents or spread their wings.

Activities for kids included gigantic bubbles to play with.

Here a red fairy organizes resistance while the Big Dark Fairy Catcher tries to catch little faeries. And Spider-Man.

Even big faeries find time to play.

Who knows what these characters find to joke about together?

Magical beings take some rest and nourishment.

A stage at the bottom of the hill hosts performers all day and into the night.

This is my average level of happiness when I’m in The Realm.

I wanted this first post to give you a sense of what it is like to be there. I will dedicate tomorrow’s post to portraits of characters, and they are simply wonderful.

People spend hours at Faerieworlds just entertaining others.

People spend hours at Faerieworlds just entertaining others.

Bubbles, beaming smiles, and beauty spreads across the faery fields of Oregon.

Bubbles, beaming smiles, and beauty spreads across the faery fields of Oregon.

Tara and I went to Eugene, Oregon over the weekend to find the realm of faeries. We have attended since 2007 and it remains a premier summer event for us. We actually have a section of the garage where our “faery gear” is stored. Wings, masks, scarves, bags, leather cords, feathers, antennae, and all manner of possible accessories fill bins and hang from racks. Our latest wings acquisition must hang from the ceiling for protection, since the wings are stiff and don’t fold up.

Please click any photo for a larger version. And see my posts from previous years. 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008

The festival began in Veneta, Oregon at the lovely little Secret House Winery in 2005. Tapping into that love of magic and love of the creatures dwelling in the realm of faerie that apparently resides in many of us, it quickly became an enormous draw, pulling in people from around the world. Who knew that so many of us still cling to those ancient stories? In 2009 Faerieworlds moved to Mt. Pisgah to accommodate what grew to 5000 people each day of the three-day festival.

Tara, me, and the Leader of the Rebellion (at least that's how she explained it).

Tara, me, and the Leader of the Rebellion (at least that’s how she explained it).

solemn green

solemn green

perched in purple

perched in purple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy in large ears and small hat.

Happy in large ears and small hat.

Resting her horns in the shade.

Resting her horns in the shade.

It’s a tribal gathering fiercely driven to provide a family-friendly, planet-cherishing environment in which all expressions are appreciated and even praised. Except for illegal substances, that is. Drug use is prohibited, smoking is severely restricted, alcohol is kept behind fences, and bad attitudes are scorned. Imagine: a gathering of thousands in which foul language and crankiness is disparaged! People stop to pick up trash, and interrupt their conversations to praise a stranger’s garb. If a child cries, a dozen heads turn to make sure he is not alone. All ages and all beings find delight in such a safe environment.

If faeries are not what inspires you, there is no rule about what form your personal expression must take. Elderly faeries and witches and sorcerers walk beside young fauns and pirates and superheroes. Pixies in wheelchairs roll among clusters of land-based jellyfish. There are valiant steampunk adventurers and bawdy wenches. There are mermaids with their own pool and horned mermen whose tail transforms to legs when it’s time to explore. We’ve seen unicorns, dragons, Na’vi, storm troopers and Darth Vader. This year there was a panda in a kimono, and Totoro.

Visions of loveliness are in every view.

Visions of loveliness are in every view.

green man

green man

black bird

black bird

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This winged creature is particularly fierce.

This winged creature is particularly fierce.

Every year I find a particular delight in the variety of materials that make up wings. There are fabric wings and metallic wings of shimmering tinsel or welded steel. There are steampunk wings of wooden slats and canvas and rotating gears. There were wings of embroidery hoops, of leafy branches, of black lace, and even of feathers. Mine were made of lacquered paper over wire, and Tara’s were gauzy black fabric, waving in the wind like cobwebs. Sometimes the wings light up, so the scene at night is brand new.

There are multiple music stages, and a puppet stage in the children’s area, nestled in the trees. There is also a simple stage of a cleared area that is commandeered by young actors who write and perform their own plays for fun. (Two young men advertising an upcoming show walked around selling rotten tomatoes to anyone who wanted to hurl tomatoes at a man in the stocks.) The musicians suit the theme of the event, always adorned to fit the setting, and sending their otherworldly sounds across the fields and into the vendors tents. Artists come from Australia, Norway, England, the U.S., and even mix it up among themselves like the band Delhi 2 Dublin.

Sadly, this was the last year at Mt. Pisgah. Due to the very unfaerylike behavior of attendees to a different Eugene festival, local residents complained about trash and noise and disrespect for neighboring properties, and a lawsuit shut all festivals down for good. Next year the fae folk will gather in a new location. Rumor was that it will be in Hillsboro, Oregon in 2015. Anyone who knows faery lore will understand that the realm follows no scientific laws that predict when or where it will appear again. Like the floating market in Neverwhere, we will wait for word, and then we’ll go to whereever the portal between practical life and fantasy is thin enough to walk through.

fungus hips

fungus hips

enormous wings

enormous wings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A tribe of friends share stories and acceptance.

A tribe of friends share stories and acceptance.

I watched this small faery as she investigated the mannequin. The little one held her hand and talked to her awhile.

I watched this small faery as she investigated the mannequin. The little one held her hand and talked to her awhile.

This tailor can handle wing repairs.

This tailor can handle all of your wing repairs.

A bone woman turned out to be less creepy than she looks.

A bone woman turned out to be less creepy than she looks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pirate and witch team up.

Pirate and witch team up.

fox and faun

wolf and faun

sunset faery

sunset faery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each side of the embroidery hoop told a part of a faery story.

Four sides of the embroidery hoop told a part of a faery story.

Tara throws rotten tomatoes.

Tara throws rotten tomatoes.

Characters teach each other juggling tricks.

Characters teach each other juggling tricks.

The fae folk are famous for being tricksters.

The fae folk are famous for being tricksters.

Oh, gosh, I just can’t stop! I took photos and photos and photos. If you’d like to scroll through more, I’ll just add my flickr link. There, you can see Malificent, Totoro, a battle between a black-winged skull demon and a 3-year-old avenger, pirates, angels, revelers, hoola-hoopers, dancers, a member of OMNIA playing a digeridoo, and more.

Tempting in their beauty, but will you be safe if you follow them?

Alluringly beautiful, but will you be safe if you follow them?

I took my little faery south on our annual pilgrimage to the world of fae in the last days of July. It’s a three-day festival, but we usually only show up for one of them. Saturday morning we dug through our collections of lace & leather, wings, glitter, leather bags, silken scarves, horns, antennae and other adornment till we were satisfied with our costumes. Then we left for Mt. Pisgah in Buford Park, just outside of Eugene, Oregon.DSC_0528DSC_0517

This year the Froud family did not come, which is a little sad, because in my mind they are a link to the faery world that I love. Amy Brown was there, but I do prefer the wicked & mischievous faeries from Brian Froud and the mysterious otherworldly creatures of Wendy Froud, and the simple presence of Toby Froud, because he is also their creation. {yes, I’m a fangirl like that.}

Tara walks through the entrance sporting fabulous wings

Tara walks through the entrance sporting fabulous wings

My new headdress, modeled after a buckeye butterfly

My new headdress, modeled after a buckeye butterfly

My Tara girl

My Tara girl

Faery with attitude

Faery with attitude

she means

she means no harm…

These were probably my favourite wings of the day

my favourite wings of the day

Faerieworlds is a HUGE operation these days, much progressed from the intimate gatherings at the winery in Veneta, where it all began. There are three stages, a large and well-organized vendors village, a food village, and the wonderful Neverland for kids.

The Neverworld puppet stage is right above the pirate's hat

The Neverland puppet stage is right above the pirate’s hat

Neverland is built in the shade (so wise to do that for the small faeries), and is themed of course, of pirates and mermaids. There is a puppet stage (a fourth stage!) and the mermaid lagoon with actual swimming mermaids with fish tails. They had a lovely area for tea, where children sit on toadstools around a low table. There are small groups like minstrels that perform for any group of people sitting on a shaded slope.

Fewer pure faeries seemed to be about, and many more wildly creative magical creatures were there, like unicorns and jellyfish and wicked dark beings with teeth and spikes and horns. Fauns abound, and wizards, and dragons. Lots of pirates and mermaids. There were steampunk faeries, flower faeries, bird faeries, tree faeries, and the variety of wings never ceases to astonish and delight me. Tara said she loves how, when something shows up that does not fit the theme at all, everyone loves them just as much. Darth Vader? We love you too!

Darth Vader, a Storm Trooper and ...unicorns?

Darth Vader, a Storm Trooper and …unicorns?

Why, Elphaba, so glad you could make it!

Why, Elphaba, so glad you could make it!

Camp, Faery, Steampunk

Camp, Faery, Steampunk

The music is so wonderful. Who would have thought there were so many bands that would suit this gathering? An old favourite of ours showed up: The Wicker Men, with a resonant haunting reverberating sound that hums through your veins and touches something deeply tribal. Delhi 2 Dublin is by far our favourite of all because their irresistible world beat triggers muscles so that you can’t help but dance.

Check out the amazing insect wings, and that crazy steampunk contraption on the ground.

Check out the amazing insect wings, and that crazy steampunk contraption on the ground.

tea anyone?

tea anyone?

Prior to our arrival, Tara and I stopped finally at a Portland shop on Belmont we’ve been meaning to visit for the longest time. At Belfry, the proprietress makes delicious leathery wings and masks, and we each spotted something to bring to Faerieworlds. Our treasures were a hit, and we both received compliments all day long on our faery finery: Tara’s remarkable wings, and my butterfly headdress. I must stop back in at Belfry and let her know how successfully her wares would sell if she could get some to the next festival. The appeal being mainly that they are unlike anything else available, and so many people arrive with intent to outfit themselves from the vendors village.

Faerieworlds organizers make a concerted effort to encourage vendors to dress up their kiosks so that they do not appear as a simple white nylon tent. It adds so much to the mood of the place, and walking through it’s easy to be drawn into fantasy and make believe over and over.

Faerie Catchers! Things are looking bad for Tara. Look at the BEAR head!

Faerie Catchers! Things are looking bad for Tara. Look at the BEAR head!

Dressed up kiosk

Dressed up kiosk

A faery mists us in the hot afternoon

A faery mists us in the hot afternoon

Every year since 2007 we have entered the realm – except for 2012 when I was in Japan. It suits our magical spirits, our willingness to suspend disbelief, our yearning for ever more stories to weave through our daily life. I like to believe that if there were magical creatures among us, this is where they would appear. So maybe, just maybe, we really were amongst faeries that day.

a wild couple

a wild couple

faun

faun

mermaid

mermaid

red horns

red horns

invitation

invitation

Ring of Stones.

Ring of Stones in the center of Faerieworlds. See the elf perched on the stone on the right.

shimmering

shimmering

pirate

pirate

info tree

info tree

pouty faery

pouty faery

a map of the realm

a map of the realm

This is me, at the end of the day, as Miss T and I prepare to find a bed.

This is me, at the end of the day, as Miss T and I prepare to find a bed.

black leather

black leather

dancing

dancing

Fantastic wings! Will they even work?

Fantastic wings! Will they even work?

Frozen faery to take home

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?

raindrops on sunbeams

raindrops on sunbeams

Brian Froud kindly stands with me for a photo

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.

Grey skies and wet faeries. An avenue through the vendors. You can see the mast of the pirate ship in the background.

Puppet theatre in the pirates area. A stage for musical acts is partially visible to the side. This is in addition to the Faerieworlds main stage.

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?

Main stage at Faerieworlds. The center of the magical realm.

steampunk glasses

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.

What a character!

What a character!

Check out that nose.

Check out that nose.

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.

A butterfly adds more braid art to Tara's hair.

A butterfly adds more braid art to Tara’s hair.

pirate faery

pirate faery

Do your faeries need a home?

Do your faeries need a home?

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.

Toby Froud, the babe with the power. That's his wife to the left.

Toby Froud, the babe with the power.

Tara got a shot of me, devily faery.

Tara got a shot of me, devily faery.

Tall and Short

Tall and Short have a little chat.

T was a water faery, in honor of the weather.

T was a water faery, in honor of the weather.

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.

 

My daughter, falcon spirit

(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.

Look at all the incredible wings during this impromptu parade!

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.

dancer

me and rabbit

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.

small faeries

Tara and a horned beast

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.

hooded

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.

Wendy and Brian Froud, meeting their fans

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.

Na'vi

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.

my new dress

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.

they captured each other's interest

pink

folk at the faery faire

Telesma

wizardly

leading the parade

perched

{Many thanks to Roger Rix and the use of his photos. }

2009 Event Guide

I took the last day of July off from work and drove south to see my girlie! She has been in northern Cali with her daddy since June 12th. I miss her so much!! Her dad was good enough to split the distance driving, so that his little girl could go to the fair with me.

It was time for our annual trip to Faerieworlds in Eugene, Oregon. I had purchased the tickets in December – that’s how much we look forward to this event.

We arrived to check in at our hotel in Eugene rather early. After cranking up the AC in the room, and going for a swim, we trekked into the city of Eugene. I don’t know the city at all, and was rather proud of myself for getting all around it without trouble (I’m a country girl, this kind of thing is a big deal for me). We found some darling shops and I was so thrilled to be with my T that I was able to tolerate clothes shopping, which I typically can’t stand.

My faery daughter with me in the forest

Everything in Eugene closes at 6:00 p.m. Can you believe that? So back through the sweltering summer evening we went, in search of the dragon wagon.

With my new black wings

We got back to the car and discovered that I had locked my keys into it. Dude, if I had in a pile all the money I’ve paid to locksmiths to get my keys out of my car… I could buy a NEW car. Good grief. What a bubblehead. Escaping this predicament was the quickest and least expensive so far (discount for military veterans – yay!), and we were quickly on our way, and off to Fred Meyer because – if it isn’t the classiest shopping spot – at least it’s open later than 6pm.

elven ears

Saturday morning we played dress-up till we had our outfits planned. I brought T’s wings from last year, and a whole suitcase full of faery finery. My monarch wings finally fell apart last year, so this year I planned to splurge on new wings. T’s wings are green and gold and blue gauzy huge wings that attach to her neck and wrists and flow when she lifts her arms. Saturday promised to be even hotter than Friday, and we chose our faery gear with that in mind. Still, I knew that no amount of planning can make 95 in the shade seem cool.

red feathers

It was a quick 15 minutes from the hotel to the new home of Faerieworlds, which outgrew the Secret House Winery grounds. So many of us faeries want to celebrate together, we required more room. We were grateful to be welcomed into Buford Park which hosted campers and weekenders and day-players alike, as well as provided the massive space we needed for our faery wagons and the vendors to tempt us with their wares. Our first stop inside the Realm was the First Aid tent, where they generously lavished sunscreen on our pale faery skin. And off we went.

knowing smile

Sadly, the heat truly did dampen the delight. The new location was set up in a large field and thus did not enjoy the benefits of the many trees at Secret House. Oregon was experiencing near-record heat and even the magical fae faery folk can’t change the weather.

As always, excellent excellent merchandise, food, entertainment, gifts, camaraderie, and delights of all kinds. I found perfect wings rather quickly, and T found a gift for her stepsister who couldn’t come, and jewelry and other delights. I bought us ice cream and a scarf to wrap over shoulders to protect from the onslaught of fiery sun.

flower faeries

This year it was huge! Unbelievable! Mythical creatures traveled to join the celebration from all over the world. My daughter and I roamed for hours, and absorbed as much as we could. It’s a three-day festival, and we were there for only one day.

One Saturday was not enough to see every vendor. We made an earnest effort and flitted in wide arcs across the yellowed fields, ducking into shady stalls to gaze in awe at the creations, try on headgear, model some jewelry, and share tales with the vendors. While in Tickle Thy Fantasy, we had a bit of a view of the stage, for when a female fae creature belted out a stirring melody. “Wow, that faery’s got soul!” said our vendor.

effective nose

Tents appealed to us for the shade they provided, and the variety of crafts, clothes, and accessories was unequaled by previous years. There was a sea of booths, familiar as any temporary market might be in any place on earth. In between tents, lovely faeries carried devices to spray mist over anyone nearby. A universal signal to beg for mist was created spontaneously. When one was spotted, we would spin to face the mist faery and throw our arms into the air!

As the afternoon wore on, we found our way back to our car, where we had a cooler full of treats. The trees rimming the parking area were casting shadows, so we enjoyed a leisurely lunch in the shade. Through the trees we heard the announcement for our favourite musicians, the Wicker Men, so we packed everything up and made our way back to the festivities.

tall faun

From the moment we arrived in the Realm, there was a fantastical musical backdrop. Percussion throbbed among the rows of booths, and called us always in slow loops back to the stage for a look and a dance or two. Some creatures stayed for the dance, some found a patch of shade and were content to listen.

Before we knew it, the clock was striking our virtual midnight, and we had to scoot away quickly to meet T’s dad at a Interstate exit. Our makeup and faery garb – which had, only moments ago seemed modestly understated – was now remarkably out of place at the gas station exchange point.

be wary

green dazzle

As the promoters of the festival like to say: “It is not really over if you take the magic from here back into your daily lives.”

stunning night

birds of a feather

Entrance into the realm

Gateway into the realm

OK, I may not be purely worthy because for a moment I really really wanted to see Flugtag, but there is simply no contest when it comes right down to it. I am part faery inside, I believe in faeries and dragons and magic, and my daughter couldn’t agree more. What did we do? My man went to flugtag, we fey folk went to Veneta, Oregon.

Hills of Veneta rise above the fair.

Hills of Veneta rise above the fair.

Me with a dragon

Me with a dragon

We heard about Faerieworlds for the first time right after we moved to Portland last year. We have been to many Ren faires and thought “Faeries? Why not?” We had such a brilliant time we deemed it a family tradition immediately.

The drive is slightly tedious, but it does prevent us from having to find overnight arrangements. And since my fab little Saturn gets 37 miles to the gallon, gas was even cheaper than a hotel room! Besides, Oregon is such a beautiful state to look at, even from I-5, I don’t mind THAT much. My girl brought her Mad Libs and we entertained ourselves with adjectives, nouns, adverbs, as well as “nonsense words” and “parts of the body” for much of the trip. (If you’ve never played Mad Libs, you’re missing out)

My honey packed a cooler for us the day before, so we didn’t have to buy any expensive faire food, and he put in about 12 bottles of water, which was brilliant. At first the day was cool, grey and cloudy, but by early afternoon it was hot and sunny like I expect central Oregon to be.

good faery

good faery

bad faery

bad faery

The location is truly exquisite, as you may ascertain from the photos. I have long known about myself that I need my horizon broken up rather than flat, and the Secret House Winery grounds are in a beautiful location for that. We were surrounded by hills and forests in the background, with colorful tents and tarps and flags and banners reminiscent of Camelot.

The faeries were beautiful and wicked and clever, as we expected. And they were accommodating to the others who decided to attend: the dragons, elves, wizards, pirates, green men, woods folk, knights and ladies of the renaissance. There was chain mail, armour, and lots of kilts. I saw a new group this year, which I called the Dirty Faeries, who were perhaps less refined than most of the fae folk. Dirty Faeries had wings made of leaves and sticks, and wore rags and leaves. They covered their faces in mud, and decorated their bodies in hand prints of dyed muds. Very primal.

leaf-and-stick-and-mud faery

leaf-and-stick-and-mud faery

fluttery gathering

fluttery gathering

There were a lot of Goth faeries this year, and pregnant faeries, with big bare bellies supported by wings. There were incredible, incredible wings. Teeny tiny wings. Gauze wings, feather wings, fur wings, glitter wings, wings of leaves, wings of tinsel. There were fabric wings that hung down, and huge net wings that spread ten feet across. There were Black Leather dragon wings that spread twenty feet across in order to pose for a photo.

purple wings

purple wings

familiar faces

familiar faces

Way way way more vendors. One of the new ones was a favourite: they attached gorgeous feather accents to your eyelashes, along with bright sparkly makeup around your eyes. So many creative handcrafted things. Honestly, I wonder how they sell some of that stuff. It’s really astonishingly clever, but, um, what would one do with a four foot high faery castle built painstakingly of tiny round

river stones with real stained glass windows lit up with led lights inside? Beautiful, no denying that. And it must have taken a hundred hours to complete. It’s just that…well, I sort of need to spend my money at Safeway. (maybe not everyone at the faire counts pennies like me)  There was even a vendor called “Crystal Tara!”

Tara strolls through the vendors tents before the crowds arrive.

Tara strolls through the vendors tents before the crowds arrive.

My little fairy had been saving her coins for months and months in order to buy a new fairy outfit here this year. She was on happiness drugs bouncing from stall to stall, trying on dresses and skirts and tops and wings and wraps. Just like a chocolate OD at Christmastime, she eventually did crash into a complete tearful meltdown, but we worked our way through it.

Saturday was Bad Fairy Day, so she stuck with the theme and got a bad fairy outfit. She spent every penny she had saved up and is very thrilled with her fairy stuff. I am very pleased that both the top and bottom she chose are adjustable, so she can wear it again next year. I couldn’t help but be a Mom, and gave her a lecture on how the outfit is ok for a costume at Faerieworlds, but she will not be allowed to wear it in regular life. Too much skin, eh? Having a growing gorgeous girl is exciting and scary at the same time.

tall faery

tall faery

decked out

decked out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

my co-conspirator and me

my co-conspirator and me

We found that since both of us wanted to be there so much, we stayed longer than last year and got to enjoy more of the music. We started off with the Wicker Men, whom I am pleased to see have made it to the Main Stage in only one year. Last year they drug their teensy mobile stage beneath a tree outside Faerieworlds, near the ticket area, and gathered a large crowd quickly. They were soon offered a place on the second stage. This year, they’re a headliner band. That is awesome foresight on the parts of both artists and event producers. Each band got more danceable, and we were soon dancing and laughing and bonding with the other magical beings. When we needed a rest, we sat in the shade of a gigantic tree with a lovely couple of women from Seattle, and one of them was also named Tara!

Most of all, we soaked up the magical spirit of the place. The pirate emcee and the green man emcee constantly reminded us to pick up our trash, to recycle what we could, to wash our hands and keep the grubby goblins away, and to keep tabs on our small fairies because they were easily whisked away into faery land, and they both told us to take the magic back into the rest of the world, where it is desperately needed.

dragoness

dragoness

singing strings

singing strings

twirling faery

twirling faery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Characters of all kinds wander the fields.

Characters of all kinds wander the fields.

Autumn wings

Autumn wings

dark faery

dark faery

 

 

 

 

 

 

walking sticks for sale

walking sticks for sale

irresistible

irresistible

 

 

 

 

 

faery finery

faery finery

 

 

 

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