Fairy Fun and Fall Harvest Fun(draising)
As the days get shorter and crisper, you start to feel a slight difference in the air. It’s subtle, but it indicates the coming of autumn - a time when one might have trouble deciding between summer garb and a warm sweater. September! That in-between season that fairies and other magical creatures love, when they can slip into our world unseen. The perfect time to host our invisible friends for a gathering!
Saturday, September 24 was a sparkling fall day. That afternoon, more than 350 people visited the Growing Center over three plus hours for our Annual Gathering of the Fairies. This garden celebration for young children is our biggest family event of the year. And the fairies were certainly in attendance - big ones and small ones!
Young fairies and other woodland spirits participated in a host of activities, many of which are a way for children to connect with nature and express their creativity. One of the most popular was the build-your-own fairy house area. Teams of volunteers painstakingly collected and donated all-natural materials like sticks, twigs, bark, pinecones, river stones, seashells and pods. After all, the fairies like to be comfortable when they’re visiting! Kids were able to create and decorate their own fairy wand using yarn, ribbon and feathers, as well as write and decorate “postcards to your favorite fairy” which they got to drop into an adorable play mailbox. There were also quiet corners for listening to read-aloud fairy stories; face painting with Athy Paints (@athypaints) and other volunteer face painters; and whimsical temporary tattoos (thanks again to Somerville-based Girl Scout Troop # 82122 for providing and administering those!).
New this year, the event featured a performance of the fairytale, “Why the Sea Moans" in both English and Portuguese. This Cinderella story is set on the northeast coast of Brazil, and tells the tale of a young girl and her unlikely friendship with the sea. Co-narrated in English by Liza Kitchell and Portuguese by Anna Borges, the story was brought to life with music by Borges and husband Bill Ward, the duo behind Receita de Samba, and a choreographed dance performance, part of the Growing Center’s season-long partnership with Alive Dance Collective. Heartfelt thanks to dancers Alex Nunweiler, Katrina Conte and Circe Rowan!
Going along with the Growing Center’s can-do DIY spirit, even some of the costumes were hand-made by a local mom and Growing Center volunteer. Music, translation, and costumes were all funded with small stipends provided by the Growing Center, but the dancers kindly gave their performance time as volunteers, with no compensation.
Additionally, sprinkled throughout the Center were volunteer “fairy” dancers associated with the Dance Complex in Cambridge who provided an extra bit of whimsy and magic to the event’s atmosphere, and also helped add some fun and suspense to the live raffle! And we were fortunate to have an energetic group of high school students from the SHS Community Service Club, who helped with chalk signage, wand making, fairy house building, selling fairy garden kits as a fundraiser for our Children in Nature Initiative, and even playing music!
In all, we had more than 40 volunteers helping out during the event. We could not have brought the event to life without all of their efforts! One small team of those volunteers was busy giving away prepared bags of milkweed seeds as the gatherers departed. When you think about it, milkweed seeds do kind of look like fairies floating on the wind!
Thanks to many generous visitors, we raised $500 that day through cash and Venmo donations. We are so grateful; these donations will all go towards the Friends of the Community Growing Center’s Annual Fund and will help ensure the continuation of this beloved annual tradition and all future events yet to be imagined for the young and old alike.
If you have fond memories of this event from when your kids were little, your family was unable to attend this year, or you just love fairies and want to support us in our endeavor to bring nature exploration and a little bit of whimsy to the children of Somerville, please make a donation today via the yellow button on the campaign page of our website! You can also give to us via Venmo: Our handle is @Lark-FCGC-22. (Be sure to put “donation” in the “What’s it for?” field).
If you would like to donate by check, you can mail your donation to:
The Somerville Community Growing Center
P.O. Box 76
Somerville, MA 02143
You can also donate your time and volunteer! We are always looking for Open Garden and event hosts, with a shared goal of further expanding our Open Hours. Sign up here!