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(Many thanks to my amazing wife for taking pictures of my costume beforehand, as  I went by myself this time.)

So this weekend was the amazing New York Faerie Festival, and this year I went for opening day on Friday.

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It was really interesting to see how the first day is different – much more low key energy, still delightful but more like a happy sigh instead of an ecstatic dance. People just arriving, the quiet hope of the first day for everyone, wishing it will go well. People reuniting after not having seen each other for a while (sometimes a whole year, as in my case). Etc. etc. Honestly, I always seem to go in with the subconscious expectation of the ecstatic-dancey-feeling I’ve gotten before (see my post on 2014’s festival) but this was so nice to feel too. It’s been a year full of change for me, very exciting and challenging – so having now reflected on it, it really felt like just what I needed. Thank goodness for the Fae knowing what I need better than I do!

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Due to a late start, I got in just as things were getting arranged for the Faerie Queen’s procession…

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…so I chose to wander ahead and look at vendors for a bit before I watched her and her court pass by. There was a new vendor selling bird whistles, adding a bit of new whimsy to the day (can’t seem to find their website, so sorry for the lack of credit!). I got to window shop a lot of vendors I always admire seeing there…

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(Shoutouts to Design by Night, The Elven Caravan, Felted Dragon Fiber Arts and Blue Toucan Studios above.)

….and was especially fortunate to meet Jill Hoffman, a fellow artist I’m familiar with from deviantART. She is just as lovely as her work.

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And I am now lucky to own one of her beautiful owls!

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(Online shopping and communication is super awesome, but there is special magic in getting to buy something from an artist in person.)

Please do check out Jill’s work and her etsy shop here.

I was also lucky to revisit Jane Star Weils Art and Jenny Davies-Reazor, who do amazing illustration and ceramic work, respectively. Apparently I didn’t take any pictures of their booth, but I did get a twin-tailed mermaid plaque for my Llady wife and this amazing ornament of Wells’ piece “Baby Unicorn.”

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For some reason this piece is really striking me. And even though this is not a pendant, technically, I’m already wearing it as a necklace.

I also got to visit the Wattlestone Garden again, which is one of the most lovely, quiet places on the festival grounds, and met an equally lovely person named Grandmother Tree who was keeping watch over it in the Queen’s absence. Its where she holds court, but obviously she’s a very busy faerie lady so it was very kind of Tree to keep the space safe.

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I was also blessed to get to watch the Faerie Queen’s procession from that spot.Click here for a video of that

I followed the procession then to watch the Queen knight her Greenmen, which is just always so beautiful.

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And then afterward, dancing of course!

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I also got to start reuniting with people I’ve met there previous years, which was extra welcome this time since I was by myself. There is special magic in this place, in that even if you go by yourself, you’re not really alone, as fast friends are made and remade 🙂 But more on that later.

The joust of the Holly King and Oak King was to follow this, so I hung out around there for a little bit, more window shopping and catching the hilarious Paolo Garbanzo‘s juggling act.

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I also went over to the Fun Tent, where crafts and painting abound, and contributed to the group tapestry there (which is something I have been too self-conscious to do in the past, so I’m really glad I finally did this year).

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Guess which part I drew. Oh predictable me.

Even Deadpool made an appearance. Appropriately. As a different kind of troll 😉

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Then, the joust itself!!! Huzzah!

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The battle ends on foot, with swords, as neither King unhorses the other with lance (the swordfight begins while still on horseback, actually. And despite the Oak King unhorsing the Holly by sword, the Holly King is victorious in the end).

I overheard some talk later questioning why the Holly King, who represents Winter, overcomes the Oak King, who is Summer  – since this is a Midsummer festival. That’s because in ancient Pagan lore, the Holly does take over at Midsummer – the summer solstice – as the length of each day’s sunlight decreases, even though its still technically the summer season. For more on that, click here and here.

After that, I continued down the festival grounds on my way to another performance. That brought me down the Walk of Frame, and for the first time in the history of me going to this, I managed to see the mermaids!

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(By the way, having missed them before is all my own fault, at first I didn’t realize they were actually there and then I just had bad timing ^^; )

I only stopped for a moment, but they were very welcoming – and warned their visitors kindly to stay a safe distance away, since they hadn’t eaten yet – and they sang a song about romancing sailors. If I heard it correctly, it actually ended much more kindly than usual. No ships crashing or whatnot, just the loving parts. But still, respect to all aspects of the merfolk.

(Especially since, you know, I married one and they are indeed fierce.)

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And continuing along the path again, I started seeing Trolls 😀 (though technically I had seen one earlier, and he’s in one of the pictures above, just hiding).

Then it came time to wait to see Sharon Knight and Winter perform, which included reuniting with some really wonderful people, as I mentioned before.

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The last picture there is of a beautiful Elven King and Queen who I’m fortunate to get to see and spend time with each year, Alan and Debbie. They were the ones who encouraged me to go see Sharon Knight, and introduced me to Winter, and I am very grateful for that.

Fun story time too – while we were chatting and waiting, Alan found a bench for us that had one rickety support, but the other side seemed fine, so we gave it a shot. I don’t know if we all sat down at the same time, or what, but it instantly collapsed, sending us flat on our bums all at once. Luckily we were okay, and luckily no children or anyone else were on it that might have gotten hurt. Still, my mental image of it is very comical, and I couldn’t stop laughing. Also, thanks to the random person who hauled me back on my feet, since corsets make things interesting.

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As for the performance, I had never gotten to experience Ms. Knight’s music before, and I’m so very glad I have now. Her songs are wonderful and her voice is haunting, in a really striking and powerful way.

She also did a cover of Heather Dale’s “Joan,” a song I hadn’t heard before, and which really truly struck me. The YouTube link, though convenient, does not do justice to the power of Knight’s performance. I felt as if it reached right into me and shook me hard.

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After that, I continued on to the Labyrinth (entrance pictured above) and to the Trolls. As often happens, a good handful of people walked right through the Labyrinth as if it was just the ground space to get from point A to point B, which is discouraging, but I still chose to walk the whole path anyway (just taking pauses whenever anyone crossed in front of me). I’m very grateful that the site has such a lovely, permanent one and I hope it remains for years to come.

That leads right to the Troll Bridge, so there I went afterward. As always, seeing them is a delight and getting to walk to the Sanctuary beyond is a special experience. A nice, quiet place amongst the bright, happy chaos of the whole festival.

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The cards hanging from the tree branches are actually from Doreen Virtue’s ‘Healing With the Faeries’ Oracle Card deck, which I happen to use, and which connect to a book of hers that has helped me on my own Faerie journey. So seeing them there, gracing this sacred space, was really reaffirming to me.

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Heading back, I went through the festival grounds again, people watching and grabbing some last minute goodies as I made my way to the last performance I had planned on seeing – Sofeya and the Puffins ❤ I first saw them at this festival in 2014, and have been a big fan ever since, even though I only get to see them here (PA’s not that far away, but gas money is elusive, alas).

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Sofeya herself is an absolute shining spirit, and always so welcoming to everyone. I got to meet her again at Sharon Knight’s performance, but didn’t get any pictures of her own performance since my phone battery died (thus, no camera, no pictures). It was wonderful to hear her and the Puffins play again, and so nice to end my day with their music.

Check out their musical video for their song “Auriela” here.

And then I headed home.

Extra shoutouts to The Original BRB, who does lovely fantasy art (and specifically this time I was impressed by her very cool mermaid concept) and Shoptroll, who does great leather work and was just an awesome person (he gave me water and ginger and let me sit in his tent for a minute yaaaaaaay. Plus, he’s a Rabbit Troll. How can you go wrong with that?). Also and always to the amazing Hrana Janto, whose work I have admired since my baby witch days, who I can’t seem to not awkwardly fangirl at, and who liked my hat. And again, to Sofeya, for pointing out how Gnomish I looked!

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See you all next year! Blessed be!

(For more on on my previous visits, click here – NYFF 2014 and NYFF 2015)

 

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