Last Saturday I was dragooned into helping at Chimney Park during the Fairy Festival; it was serendipitous.
I had a great time. My job was handing out paper plates, black noses and eyeballs made of cupcake baking liners filled with yellow and black eyeballs. The idea was that the children would glue the beaks and eyeballs to the paper plates and then go to my friend beside me who would staple on the owls’ wings. We had bowls full of glue and Q-tips for the children to use.
I had no idea how many creative ways children can come up with in gluing on those eyeballs. Some put a huge glob of glue on the paper plate. Others painstakingly outlined a circle about the size of the paper liners on the paper plate and then carefully filled it in before affixing the eyes.
Others painted the bottom of the paper liners with glue, or globed it on. One little girl even tried to glue the sides of the beak which was just a flat piece of heavy dark paper. Some took the challenge on their own and others had the help of their mothers who were far neater than the children. Other mothers were too busy taking pictures with their phones. One laughed and wondered aloud what we did before we documented every move our children made. One father wanted to make his eyeballs cross-eyed.
After the paper plate owls had eyes, beaks and wings, the children were free to color them if they wanted. Then a hole was punched in the top of the owls and strings attached. The children could hang their creations in the park or take them home. Those owls were cute. I was told they were designed by Linda Shore. She also cut out the paper plates and affixed talons to the owls and made the beaks and eyeballs and cut other paper plates in half to make wings. That was a labor of love.
I saw a lot of old friends while on duty and enjoyed catching up with them.
Everyone had a good time. The children were accompanied by mothers, grandmothers and some fathers. Most of the girls had on some kind of fairy costume with wings. They were all so cute you just wanted to take everyone’s picture. I even saw some boys in costume — pirate, not fairy. But the most incongruous costume belonged to a very large black Lab, owned by Jean and Andy Austin. He was dressed as a lavender fairy, complete with wings.
Besides making owls, the children could paint rocks, make fairy dust, embellish fairy wings, stamp treasure bags and make wishes for the Giving Tree.
One of the biggest crowds was drawn by a man who had, and sold, all manner of devices for making bubbles, both enormous and small.
The walks were lined with mason jars full of flowers and the park was decorated with painted mushrooms and gnomes. The decorations get more varied and inventive each year.
Still in development is the Gnome House. Scott Fuss and his Leadership Newton team designed and are building the house as their community project. They are being helped by students from the Newton County Career Academy.
The fire pit is almost completed and is awaiting final touches which will include a quote from “The Lorax.”
The stars of the show were the fairy houses created by individuals and clubs and on display near the fire pit.
Everyone had a good time. All the mothers who came to the owl table commented on what fine weather it was for the event, and always included a reference to last year’s weather.
The Fairy Fest is a fundraiser for Chimney Park. The purpose of the park is to have an outdoor green space that is universally accessible, a place for children and adults who are in wheelchairs, strollers or walkers can enjoy the beauty of nature. Linda Shore was in charge of this year’s festival.
She and her fairy helpers created a magical day. My favorite memory of the day was the sight of two elderly women who were very slowly walking down the path toward the bridge, holding hands for support. Smiling, they watched the delight of the children and stopped to great each charming young fairy they passed.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.