Long Island Fairy Festival At The Sands Point Preserve


Glittering wings, blooming flowers, enchanting woodland creatures and magic will be flowing through the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy on Saturday, May 6. The first Long Island Fairy Festival will be hosted at the preserve to celebrate nature and the magic of imagination.

Gardens at the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy (Photo from the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy website)

The festival is an all-day event with various magical activities, delicious food and beautiful sights to explore around the whole preserve. With support from the Peter and Jeri Dejana Foundation, the festival will charm and dazzle every fairy and nature lover that attends.

Director of Operations at the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy Linda Nutter has been planning the fairy festival for months to ensure the day is filled with joy and magic. Fairy Festivals have been around for years, inviting fairy lovers of all ages to gather outdoors, dress up, enjoy music and crafts, and experience a mystical celebration. Portsmouth, NH, is one of the pioneers of Fairy Festivals in the U.S. Portsmouth hosts a fairy festival every year that features fairy houses and festival activities. The Portsmouth Fairy Festival provided inspiration for Long Island’s Fairy Festival at Sands Point Preserve Conservancy, shared Nutter, especially their fairy house tour.

“I think of the fairy houses as the heart of the whole festival,” said Nutter. “All the houses that people in the community create will be displayed on the Trail One outside. We’ve got quite a few entries; even staff members are building them.”

Fairy houses are built from all things natural, such as twigs, leaves, rocks, moss, and sea shells. The houses are meant to be inviting, whimsical creations to invite fairies, elves and gnomes home as warmer weather approaches.

“Because we’re a nature preserve, we’re encouraging people to build fairy houses that will just kind of crumble back to dust and a little bit of real sticks and leaves,” said Nutter.

While the fairy houses can be viewed on a walk down Trail One, about six separate fairy houses will be displayed in the Great Hall of Castel Gould. In the Great Hall of Castel Gould, a fairy art exhibit will be on display featuring two-dimensional art mediums such as oil, watercolor and photography, as well as three-dimensional art mediums such as sculpture and mixed media. The art exhibit will be on display during the Fairy Festival and remain open till May 29.

Nancy Zechel’s “Gray Stump Hollow,” the winner in the 2014 Portsmouth, New Hampshire Fairy House Tour Artist Invitational.
(Photo by Barry Kane)

The fairy houses on display in the Great Hall will be from the Fairy House Invitational. Artists, skilled builders and creative professionals were able to submit a creation to the Fairy House Invitational competition, where community judges will review the entries. Entries will be judged based on their use of natural materials, creativity, ingenuity and imagination. Fairy Festival attendees can view the winners and other submissions of the invitational in the Fairy Art exhibit.

Aside from Castel Gould, the other gardens, trails, ponds and historic buildings on the preserve will have different activities and sights for fairy festival attendees to enjoy.
“We have these 216 acres, and part of it is a beach, pond, fields, and woods. So we’re making sure that we have activities in all of those places,” said Nutter. “We have to be clever with our signage and our decorating because we want to make sure people have the opportunity to see literally every corner of the preserve. The preserve will be closed that day just for the fairy festival.”

Activities offered at the fairy festival include face painting, fairy crafts, nature walks, storytelling, woodland creature sightings, fairy dances, music, aerialists, spring planting, food trucks and a vendor market. Nutter shared that local organizations and businesses have been contacting her to share some of their magic for the festival.

“I’ve been trying to make this an event where we can really think about how different people in the community can get involved,” said Nutter. “A traditional Irish band will be performing the whole day. We have a preschool that is providing teachers for story time. Vendors will be set up doing sparkle tattoos and henna. The Science Museum of Long Island, Re-Wild Long Island and Oh My Goodness are all getting involved to add to the fun.”

Magic will be at every turn during the fairy festival. While walking the trails, woodland creatures like fairies and gnomes will be weaving through the trees to spot. At Mermaid Cove, mermaids with elegant tails will be on the coast basking in the sun. “We have a wonderful fairy artist in the woods where you just happen upon her,” said Nutter.

While you may think a fairy festival is for young girls who like to dress up in rainbow tulle wings, fairy festivals draw crowds of all ages. Like renaissance fairs, fairy festivals appeal to all people who enjoy letting their mystical imagination run free. These festivals and fairs often provide a fun space for cosplayers to dress up in their finest threads and adorn glittering jewelry to take part in a mystical day outdoors.

“We’re hoping to get literally anybody that has any connection to the word fairy,” said Nutter. “Our vendors are geared toward things grown women like. We have gems and jewelry and fairy clothing and artwork. It’s really not just a family event.”

The Sands Point Preserve Conservancy will be flowing with magic; between the beautiful artwork, woodland creature sightings and charming decorations, each spot on the preserve will be enticing.

Local fiber artist Allison White hosted ‘Crochet in the Castle’ evening for other fiber artists to help create some crochet or knit items to display on the ‘fairy tree’ for the festival. White shared that the evening was a success, with artists creating flowers, butterflies, bees and vines to decorate the tree. She shared that one family drove in from Brooklyn to help out.

‘Crochet in the Castle’ participants. (Photo from Alison White)

“I really love Allison’s fanciful type of stuff,” said Nutter. “So right when you pull into the preserve, there’s one tree that’s pretty large, and she’s going to yarn bomb that tree with flowers, butterflies and frogs.” Nutter shared that she made over 100 flowers to contribute to the tree as well.

As always, the Port Washington community and surrounding areas are coming together to support the Long Island Fairy Festival. The community participation, Nutter’s dedication and the Sands Point Preserve Conservancy’s beautiful grounds are combining to orchestrate a beautiful day for fairy lovers of all ages.

“We think it’s going to be so much fun. Of course, it’s a fundraiser for the preserve. But mostly what we’re thinking about is just making it as magical a day as possible,” said Nutter.

Visit sandspointpreserveconservancy.org/fairy-festival/ for more details. Tickets are not sold at the gate; they must be bought in advance and are sold per car. Email fairyfestival@sandspointpreserve.org for ticket assistance.


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