The Indomitable Spirit of a Child in the Forest: A Recap of Fairy Fest 2017


Fairy Fest 2017, which marked the official start of fairy house hunting season on the Traverse City Fairy Trails, took place this past Saturday. In a day of many memories, one stood out: Witnessing the kinetic and infectious energy of hundreds of children romping, exploring and discovering in the forest. Kids entered the trails clean, tidy and with eager anticipation. Most emerged dirty and tousled – smiles beaming and eyes gleaming.

When we created the Fairy Trails a little over a year ago, we drew our inspiration and motivation from the fact that our three girls are their best selves while actively exploring in the great outdoors. We knew intuitively that our kids are not unique in this respect, and Saturday’s event validated that intuition. In just a couple of hours on the trails, we observed:

Patience: With hundreds of people exploring the Fairy Trails at once, kids showed great patience and restraint while waiting for crowds around fairy houses to thin.

Respect: Tremendous respect was shown for other people, the fairy houses and the trails themselves. We revisited the Fairy Trails the day after the event, and did not see a speck of trash – only footprints were left behind.

Creativity: While the new artist built fairy houses are amazing, during our day-after visit to the trails we were most excited to see the many houses built by kids at the event. Many were simple, some were more intricate – all were inspired by the spark of creativity.

Ingenuity: As any of the fairy house artists will tell you, it’s not easy to build a fairy house without an adhesive like hot glue to make the all natural elements of a fairy house bond together. Many of us have the hot glue burn blisters on our hands to show for it. But kids did a great job constructing sturdy houses with nothing but nature’s bounty and their own ingenuity at their disposal.

Teamwork: From hunting for the fairy houses placed along the trails, to scavenging for materials to build their own, it was great to see kids working together to solve problems and overcome challenges in a natural environment.

Passion: Too often in today’s hyper-fast world, kids endure an overly-structured and carefully curated existence. It was refreshing to experience an afternoon during which kids ruled the forest and their indomitable spirits shown brightly.

It was a magical day on the Fairy Trails.

Home is Where the Heart Is 

The day’s agenda included crafts for kids, music, and the debut of Susie Q and our new product line, but there’s no doubt that the main event was the exploration and discovery of all of the new fairy houses on the Traverse City Fairy Trails. 15 artists and fairy enthusiasts graciously donated their time and creativity to make this year’s event extra special. And lots of attendees brought and/or built fairy houses on the day of the event.

The new fairy houses were built with love, are whimsical and amazing, and will remain on the Fairy Trails for all to enjoy.

Thanks and Gratitude 

Hosting an event like Fairy Fest can’t be done without the help and contribution of many other people. We are extremely grateful for the support that so many showed in helping us to make the day a great success.

We would like to thank:

The Village at Grand Traverse Commons for allowing us to establish the Fairy Trails on its beautiful trail system, and to host great events like Fairy Fest.

The fairy house artists (some of whom drove from downstate to bring their houses to the event) who took the time out of their busy schedules to make an immense and magical contribution to the day’s festivities.

Kate Farmer
Rachel Jezowski
Liz Ledtke
Lauren Petz
Erica Mohr
Ivy Ratliff
Kristin Spangler
Stephanie Greiner
Veronika Watson
Kristy Kurjan
Laura Adams
Brittany Zeller Holland
Julie Poole
Rita Harrington
Donna Dick

Everyone who attended the event. It’s hard to estimate an exact headcount, but there were easily more than 700 people frolicking in the forest on Saturday. From entire Brownie troops, to families that drove hundreds of miles to attend, everyone who came and contributed to the event added to the infectious energy and enthusiasm of the day.

Our moms, who helped in innumerable ways – from building fairy houses to watching our girls while we ran around trying to keep our wits about us during the frenzy of activity.

Pete and Kate Farmer of Farmer Foot Drums who contributed fun and style to the event with their musical magic. The highlight of the day was when Pete led a parade of hundreds of families back to the trails.

The members of the broader Life and Whim community, many of whom were not able to make it to the event, but have enthusiastically supported our mission to help put a bit more fun and creativity into the world.

Join Us in Building a Fairy Community!

You’re invited to join a new Facebook Group called “Teaching with Fairies” started by Heather Harrington of Life and Whim and Nicolette Sowder who writes an awesome blog called Wilder Child. From inspiring kids to pursue an active, outdoor lifestyle, to encouraging them to become stewards of the environment, and igniting their creativity and imaginations, this new group is a place for all of us to explore ways in which the world of fairies can connect our kids to the natural world and each other. We’ll be featuring activities, crafts, lessons and lots of collaborative discussion. We’d love for you to join us!

Come Out to the Fairy Trails! 

It’s officially fairy season in Northwest Michigan. We’ll be hosting additional events at the Fairy Trails throughout the summer. If you’re not already a subscriber to our Journal, enter your email below to stay up to date about upcoming events.

Come out to the Traverse City Fairy Trails and experience the magic for yourself!