Long Island Sands Point Preserve Conservancy will host its first Fairy Festival this spring. A fairy house contest will be held where participants build homes out of elements found in nature.  Credit: Johnny Milano

It happened in New Hampshire. It happened in Vermont. Now it’s happening on Long Island for the first time: a Fairy Festival makes its debut at Sands Point Preserve Conservancy in Port Washington this spring.

Though Tinker Bell is a perfectly respectable member of the fairy community, a fairy festival encompasses so much more. Festivals for fairies welcome and celebrate all magical characters who thrive in nature — gnomes, small trolls and all woodland creatures. The community is invited to participate in family-friendly activities that combine nature and magic.

"I think there’s a little bit of fairy or woodland sprite inside most people. It’s the innocent part of us that doesn’t get old," says Karli Hagedorn, a preserve board member who organized the event with Linda Nutter, director of operations at Sands Point.

At the festival on May 6, participate in magical activities that combine nature and magic through music, dance, storytelling, theater, acrobatics and face painting. You can create your own fairy house that will be displayed on a path in the woods. There’s no dress code but wearing homemade fairy wings will make a welcome fashion statement.

Nutter and Hagedorn were inspired by past fairy festivals they've attended in New England. The transition to Sands Point felt natural, Nutter explains.

“We have four different ecosystems: the beach, a pond, the woods and meadows," Nutter says. "So, we decided to meld the specialness of our natural environment with this magical fairy experience." 

When you enter the festival, you’ll wade through a sea of bubbles. Scattered throughout the woods, there will be fantastical art centers. Design your own wand or watch a mystical woman create art using natural paint and pigments. Some fairies will pop out from behind trees and talk to you. Others will perform aerial tricks.

You may find a troll sitting under a stone bridge, or a mermaid by the beach. 

Dance along as Irish fiddlers, a harpist and Celtic band play beside a pond or on the great lawn. Make your own music with healing singing bowls. There will also be fairy storytelling under a tree. 

Visit vendors offering enchanting items made on Long Island — everything from candles to magical jewelry to natural stones. Grab a bite to eat from food trucks (portions will not be fairy-sized).

Inside the preserve’s castle, you’ll find an art gallery filled with creations made specially for the event.

Patrick Louie, 36 of Port Washington, is building a medieval-themed fairy sculpture wearing armor and a Victorian gown. He says, “Most people think of fairies as pixie-like. This felt like a nice departure from that.” In his neighborhood, he found a piece of bark that had fallen from a dead tree and used it to create part of his house.

Sean McNally, 47 of Port Washington, is working on a male, western fairy. McNally’s fairy home is based on a log shaped like the house in "The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe."

You'll also be invited to stroll down a path filled with homemade fairy houses. Folks of all ages can build one and reserve a place for it in the preserve. 

Register at sandspointpreserveconservancy.org before May 4 to let the event staff know you'll be building a fairy house to be displayed along the festival path.

Here’s the key: The houses must be made of things that are part of nature, including pebbles, sand, dried flowers, shells and twigs or bark that have fallen from trees.

“I’ve seen some elaborate homes. Someone took a dried ear of corn and broke the corners off to make shingles for the roof. Another fairy house was shaped like a ship," Nutter says. "This year at the fair, a few people are building beach houses.”

Building is open to all ages. Nutter says she's seen houses built by children as young as 5. “They’re pure, beautiful, simple and evoke as much magic as some of the detailed ones," she says. 

Julia Gurlitz, 22 of Port Washington, is building a fairy house inspired by Rapunzel’s tower. She describes her creative process, “I thought a rock tower would be cool and sturdy enough to hold together. So, I started looking for rocks, sticks and pine cones in my backyard. I took two pine cones apart and glued them on top of my tower as the roof.” With leftover sticks, she’s also making a fairy campsite.

It’s certainly not a requirement, but wearing wings and crowns is encouraged. 

“One fun part of the festival is seeing adults and children arriving dressed as fairies, gnomes, trolls and woodland creatures,” Nutter says. “The more people get into it, the more the festival comes to life.”

Hagedorn agrees, adding, “It’s a celebration of childhood innocence, creativity, and nature. I can’t think of a better combination than that.”

Festival tickets are now on sale and must be purchased in advance; no tickets will be sold at the gate. 

If you’d like to create a fairy house, register on the website to reserve a space for your house on the path. Drop off your fairy house on May 4 or 5 at the preserve.

It happened in New Hampshire. It happened in Vermont. Now it’s happening on Long Island for the first time: a Fairy Festival makes its debut at Sands Point Preserve Conservancy in Port Washington this spring.

WHAT’S A FAIRY FESTIVAL?

Though Tinker Bell is a perfectly respectable member of the fairy community, a fairy festival encompasses so much more. Festivals for fairies welcome and celebrate all magical characters who thrive in nature — gnomes, small trolls and all woodland creatures. The community is invited to participate in family-friendly activities that combine nature and magic.

Artist Sean McNally shows his fairy house creation at the Sands...

Artist Sean McNally shows his fairy house creation at the Sands Point Preserve in Port Washington on March 3. Credit: Johnny Milano

"I think there’s a little bit of fairy or woodland sprite inside most people. It’s the innocent part of us that doesn’t get old," says Karli Hagedorn, a preserve board member who organized the event with Linda Nutter, director of operations at Sands Point.

At the festival on May 6, participate in magical activities that combine nature and magic through music, dance, storytelling, theater, acrobatics and face painting. You can create your own fairy house that will be displayed on a path in the woods. There’s no dress code but wearing homemade fairy wings will make a welcome fashion statement.

Nutter and Hagedorn were inspired by past fairy festivals they've attended in New England. The transition to Sands Point felt natural, Nutter explains.

“We have four different ecosystems: the beach, a pond, the woods and meadows," Nutter says. "So, we decided to meld the specialness of our natural environment with this magical fairy experience." 

FAIRY FESTIVAL TO-DO LIST

When you enter the festival, you’ll wade through a sea of bubbles. Scattered throughout the woods, there will be fantastical art centers. Design your own wand or watch a mystical woman create art using natural paint and pigments. Some fairies will pop out from behind trees and talk to you. Others will perform aerial tricks.

You may find a troll sitting under a stone bridge, or a mermaid by the beach. 

Dance along as Irish fiddlers, a harpist and Celtic band play beside a pond or on the great lawn. Make your own music with healing singing bowls. There will also be fairy storytelling under a tree. 

Visit vendors offering enchanting items made on Long Island — everything from candles to magical jewelry to natural stones. Grab a bite to eat from food trucks (portions will not be fairy-sized).

Inside the preserve’s castle, you’ll find an art gallery filled with creations made specially for the event.

Patrick Louie, 36 of Port Washington, is building a medieval-themed fairy sculpture wearing armor and a Victorian gown. He says, “Most people think of fairies as pixie-like. This felt like a nice departure from that.” In his neighborhood, he found a piece of bark that had fallen from a dead tree and used it to create part of his house.

Sean McNally, 47 of Port Washington, is working on a male, western fairy. McNally’s fairy home is based on a log shaped like the house in "The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe."

You'll also be invited to stroll down a path filled with homemade fairy houses. Folks of all ages can build one and reserve a place for it in the preserve. 

MAKE A FAIRY HOUSE FOR THE FAIR

A fairy dons a sword and armor, created by Patrick...

A fairy dons a sword and armor, created by Patrick Louie, at the Sands Point Preserve in Port Washington on March 3. Credit: Johnny Milano

Register at sandspointpreserveconservancy.org before May 4 to let the event staff know you'll be building a fairy house to be displayed along the festival path.

Here’s the key: The houses must be made of things that are part of nature, including pebbles, sand, dried flowers, shells and twigs or bark that have fallen from trees.

“I’ve seen some elaborate homes. Someone took a dried ear of corn and broke the corners off to make shingles for the roof. Another fairy house was shaped like a ship," Nutter says. "This year at the fair, a few people are building beach houses.”

Building is open to all ages. Nutter says she's seen houses built by children as young as 5. “They’re pure, beautiful, simple and evoke as much magic as some of the detailed ones," she says. 

Julia Gurlitz, 22 of Port Washington, is building a fairy house inspired by Rapunzel’s tower. She describes her creative process, “I thought a rock tower would be cool and sturdy enough to hold together. So, I started looking for rocks, sticks and pine cones in my backyard. I took two pine cones apart and glued them on top of my tower as the roof.” With leftover sticks, she’s also making a fairy campsite.

FROLIC IN FAIRY FASHIONS

It’s certainly not a requirement, but wearing wings and crowns is encouraged. 

“One fun part of the festival is seeing adults and children arriving dressed as fairies, gnomes, trolls and woodland creatures,” Nutter says. “The more people get into it, the more the festival comes to life.”

Hagedorn agrees, adding, “It’s a celebration of childhood innocence, creativity, and nature. I can’t think of a better combination than that.”

SIGN UP SOON

Festival tickets are now on sale and must be purchased in advance; no tickets will be sold at the gate. 

If you’d like to create a fairy house, register on the website to reserve a space for your house on the path. Drop off your fairy house on May 4 or 5 at the preserve.

FAIRY FESTIVAL

WHEN | WHERE May 6, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; rain date May 7. Sands Point Preserve Conservancy: 127 Middle Neck Rd., Sands Point; 516-570-2281;

COST $85 per car with up to 5 people, $100 per larger SUV with as many as 8-10 people. Pricing is intended to encourage carpooling due to limited parking availability. Register and buy tickets at sandspointpreserveconservancy.org

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