A forest made for fairies brings whimsical delights to Grafton

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GRAFTON — Humans — some of them waving wands and wearing wings and lots of glitter — helped fairies by building places where they could sleep, eat and enjoy relaxation in the forest.

"It's cool," Nellie Sterling of Westminster said Sunday during the second day of the 10th annual Fairy House Festival at The Nature Museum in Grafton.

She attended with her brother Douglas Sterling, her friend Luna Stamm, also of Westminster, and a chaperone.

"I haven't been here in a super long time," Stamm said.

Both girls said they were having fun at the festival, the museum's biggest annual fundraiser. The event "celebrates the changing season with music, food, crafts and more" while allowing people of all ages to express their creativity and foster a deeper relationship with nature, according to organizers.

"At the heart of the event are the fairy houses: tiny structures made out of natural materials," an event description reads. "Sprinkled along a forest path, dozens of these intricate houses are placed among the fallen leaves and the stone walls. These tiny houses have been built here for the fairies: the birch branches transformed into bridges, the twigs woven into tiny treehouse ladders, the acorn cap dinnerware set for a fairy party."

Volunteers called "fairy house builders" create the structures each year. Will Danforth, one of the builders from Grafton, welcomed guests into the festival Sunday with music he strummed on a stringed instrument. He wore glasses appropriate for a masquerade ball.

After guests were admitted into the festival with glitter on their wrists, they passed by face painting and crafting opportunities before they got to the Fairy House Building Supply Station at the beginning of a trail lined with fairy dwellings. Boxes and containers held pine cones, straw and other natural elements.

"Fairy Plein Air," a display by Leslie Goldman and Matthew Peake of Bellows Falls had fairies painting in the outdoors. MerMonkey Tattoo of Rutland used birdhouses. Much of a Fairyland Boarding School was made by stacking pine cones and small stones on logs. The trail also included spas, homes, swinging structures, a restaurant, a playground, a fairground and a church.

"Wow," one young child said, looking at a castle built by the Kraics Family of Belle Terre, N.Y.

Nearby, Girl Scouts Troop 51293 of Springfield had its own fairy village.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at @CMaysBR on Twitter and 802-254-2311, ext. 273.

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