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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.

A happy Humpty Dumpty was put back together by Roger Tofte, according to the sign.

A happy Humpty Dumpty was put back together by Roger Tofte, according to the sign. This is no hollow claim, since some unruly guests knocked Humpty to the ground last year, and Mr. Tofte was forced to prove that he could indeed put the egg back together.

For Tara’s 18th birthday celebration, a trip to the Enchanted Forest  was requested. We went last year and loved it, so I was on board to visit again!

This enchanted theme park has moved through too-uncool-for-middle school, and has become a hip place to go, if you are a teenager. It is clearly designed for small children, with some great additions since the 1970s that will entertain the parents, but what keeps this place well worth a visit is that it slightly misses the mark, and crosses the Uncanny Valley. What I mean is, it’s just on the other side of cute, and has turned creepy in a most delicious way.

Tara and birthday friends inside the mouth of the witch. The trail continues inside, with scenes from Snow White inside.

Tara and birthday friends inside the mouth of the witch. The trail continues into the throat, with scenes from Snow White and her evil witch stepmother.

The kids peek into the windows of the tiny house of the Seven Dwarves.

The kids peek into the windows of the tiny house of the Seven Dwarfs.

The second floor of the little house holds these darling beds, a tiny rabbit, and a squirrel doing some housekeeping.

The second floor of the little house holds these darling beds, a tiny rabbit, and a squirrel doing some housekeeping.

It is so much like the idea of Disneyland that I am amazed no one has sued. Thank goodness, because the Enchanted Forest, south of Salem, Oregon, is a high-quality theme park that’s a blast for the little ones, and genuinely amusing for everyone else. All that – for an entrance fee of $10.99, and tickets for the rides at $1 per ticket.

The park is a true family effort, envisioned by Roger Tofte, supported by his wife and children, and opened in 1971. A son grew up and learned animatronics, and built for us the awkward, jerking, breathed into life-sized beings across the park. One daughter wrote and directs the comedic plays that show at the theatre, and she also wrote all the music heard in the park, which is always played on pipes.

Hansel and Gretel couldn't resist this place. Neither could Tara.

Hansel and Gretel couldn’t resist this place. Neither could Tara.

This is by far the most frightening thing in the park: animated witch beckons Gretel into the furnace, and creaking, hesitant, animatronic Gretel slowly turns her head back and forth in a

This is by far the most frightening thing in the park: animated witch beckons Gretel into the furnace, and creaking, hesitant, animatronic Gretel slowly turns her head back and forth in a “no.” Life-sized Hansel crouches in an iron cage at her feet.

It begins just past the entrance, where guests walk along Storybook Trail through a real forest, and find miniature and life-sized creations from children’s faery tales and Mother Goose rhymes. You can stand on the trail and look, but if you get close and go inside or peek in windows, that is when the real treat begins. Or the real heebie jeebies, as the case may be.

There is a Western-themed town, which is hilarious, filled with more animatronics, and named Tofteville. The kids got a big charge out of the drunken walk, where you enter a building, and follow the path out on a floor balanced on springs. There is no way to keep steady.

I think I may just love Pinocchio Town the best, a European-style village that has several animated faces that peer from shutters two stories above you that swing open. The characters gossip loud enough to hear, about different storybook characters. You can enter a doorway and follow a path through multiple buildings, peeking into holes in walls, and holes in cheese, and reading about puppetry around the world, and controlling a miniature train on a track through snowy Alps. Through one curtained window is a kaleidescope, that simply turns as long as you stand there. One window reveals a fabulous 10-foot-high Rube Goldberg mechanism that runs balls through a wire obstacle course. And who can stand resist the singing blackbirds baked in a pie?

Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie. When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing.

Four and twenty blackbirds, baked in a pie. When the pie was opened, the birds began to sing.

Peek through one of the holes in an enormous piece of Swiss cheese, and you can see the home of the Three Blind Mice.

Peek through one of the holes in an enormous piece of Swiss cheese, and you can see the home of the Three Blind Mice.

Where will this lead us next?

Where will this lead us next?

Gossips in Pinocchio's Village

Gossips in Pinocchio’s Village

These inviting structures hold picnic tables, where people can eat the food they brought in, or buy from the vendors.

These inviting structures hold picnic tables, where people can eat the food they brought in, or buy from the vendors.

Rip Van Winkle sleeps on a hil

Rip Van Winkle sleeps on a hill

Jack and Jill run down the hill

Jack and Jill run down the hill

Little Red Riding Hood knocks on the door, but the wolf has already eaten Grandma

The wolf listens eagerly to Red Riding Hood’s knock.

The Crooked Man invites visitors to walk through his crooked house.

The Crooked Man invites visitors to walk through his crooked house.

Mrs. Pumpkin Eater is trapped.

Mrs. Pumpkin Eater is trapped.

The Europen-style village

The European-style village

Mad Hatter and March Hare have tea, while the Cheshire Cat looks down, grinning

Mad Hatter and March Hare have tea, while the Cheshire Cat looks down, grinning

I haven’t shown any photos of the rides, but I think I’ll save those for another day. There were too many fun photos in this post to bog it down further.

In 1960s, Roger Tofte seemed to be the only person who could see the final version in his mind’s eye. He was the target of many jokes and whispers that he had some screws loose.

Mr. Tofte can laugh at them all today, though I imagine he’s too sweet to do so. Both times we have visited the park, we have spotted him moving around, quietly under the radar, passing through doors that say “staff only” and happily waiting for toddlers to pass before he drives through on his scooter.

The Western town, named Tofteville.

The Western town, named Tofteville.

In Tofteville, a barber and his client appear startled to see me.

In Tofteville, a barber and his client appear startled to see me.

A dentist in Tofteville, getting some unruly teeth in order.

A dentist in Tofteville, getting some unruly teeth in order.

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.

You do this too, I’m sure: plan what you’ll do with your lottery winnings. My fantasy includes the traditional dream of taking care of my family, paying off everybody’s debts, setting aside college money for the kids, getting a new car, etc. And then we get to the good stuff, the plans that say a little more about who I am. Anyone who has played the game of Lottery Fantasy with me has heard me describe the old train depot in New Meadows, Idaho.

I moved to New Meadows in 1980, when I was 10 years old. The little town in a high mountain valley was the biggest population center I had ever lived in. My parents preferred to live away from people, so the sign reading “Population: 576” was thrilling to me.

Most of you won’t remember what it felt like to see the lights of a city at night for the first time. For most of you, that memory is too far back to recall it, but I was a 5th-grader that first time. I do recall. I stood in the center of the highway (because there was no traffic) and felt my heart stop at the magic of lights at night.

Our only lit street was where Highway 95 passed through the business center. At the time it hosted Shaver’s Grocery Store, the Post Office, two gas stations plus Freeman’s which was more bait&tackle shop than gas station, three bars, a drugstore/doctor’s office, LeFay’s barbershop and ice cream, Myrt’s Cafe, a second hand store, and a bank. It seemed humongous.

Beyond the “city center” was a park. And beyond the park was the depot.

It’s the grandest building in the entire valley, and when I lived there, it was mostly abandoned. For a time there was a library on one side of the main floor, and I had the opportunity to walk through the front door and beneath the high ceilings. My best friend and I were such frequent visitors that once the librarian held a brand new children’s book for us, so that we could be the first to write our names on the check out list inside the cover.

One of the boys I met that first year wanted to show off and told me he could get inside. Soon enough, yep, we had squished through a broken window and got inside the dusty and dark space filled with forgotten rubbish and spiders. I was scared of getting in trouble and climbed right back out. Now though, looking back, I wish I had explored the whole building, so that I could compare the before and after.

Over the years the building fell into greater disrepair and the library was closed and the front door barred for good. The broken window was sealed so that children couldn’t climb inside.

The grand and beautiful brick train depot is the main character in the story of when the city of Meadows was too far away from the train tracks, so the city of New Meadows then sprung up beside the depot. When I moved there the trains were no longer running, but the tracks were still there. I’d pack a lunch and grab a couple of friends and walk the tracks for hours in the baking sun. We’d fish off the trestle bridges, swim in muddy cow creeks, and gather mussels and eat them, after they had been cooked in an old Folgers can filled with river water over a fire.

Eventually the tracks were pulled up. Somehow it wasn’t as romantic to walk along the cleared lines. And I was getting older and less romantic anyway.

So my dream all this time has been to restore that place. One of my high school teachers forwarded this video to me. He and his wife have remained in touch after I graduated and left town. I am truly delighted to see what’s been done with the old beauty of a train depot, and I have fingers crossed that the Idaho Heritage Trust can gain enough financial support to address all their needs. I am delighted to see other familiar faces in the video, and shots of that little town of New Meadows in the Heartland of Idaho, that I remember so fondly.

Though I can help now with a smaller donation, the fantasy of what I’ll do with my lottery winnings remains. I’ll pitch in to help polish that tiny town when I’m disgustingly rich. In the video, a couple other historic buildings are mentioned. I remember them, and they need care too. It will be magnificent one day.

Oh! I almost forgot. This is from my teacher:

IF YOU FEEL YOU COULD HELP US IN ANY WAY GET ON BOARD. Our address is P.O. Box 352, New Meadows, ID 83654  Our web site is  www.historicpindepot.com    Thanks, Morris

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

One of my many guises

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