EAST LIVERPOOL - Thompson Park will become an enchanted, mystical place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 31 when it plays host to the first-ever Garden Fairy Festival.
Sponsored by the East Liverpool Calcutta Garden Club, the festival is open to children of all ages and adults who still believe in the magic of fairies, pixies and pirates.
The idea for the festival was that of club member Lynn Wells, whose garden club in Florida holds a fairy festival each year, attracting upwards of 800 children dressed in costume.
In her fairy costume, Julianna Johnston, 4, welcomes other children to the first-ever Garden Fairy Festival Aug. 31 at Thompson Park, where a host of magical activities will be held. (Photo by Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert)
"It is so awesome," Wells said of the annual event.
The local garden club performs a multitude of community projects, and this year, President Lisa Chronister chose to focus her presidency on children in the community.
"I wanted to do something for the children that's fun plus (educational)," Chronister said, adding that the Garden Fairy Festival is both.
Themed activities during the day will include mushroom ring toss, bean bag toss and a "wishing bush" on which children can hand their hearts' desires for the fairies to read and perhaps grant.
Fairy manicures, face painting and pirate sword making will be among the activities in which both boys and girls can participate, and craft projects will include a fairy heart necklace and a Gnome Depot, where visitors can "shop" bins filled with bark, branches, leaves, cones, stones and other natural materials to construct a fairy house.
Visitors young and old may also be surprised to find Mother Nature roaming the park, a fairy storyteller nestled underneath a tree or Stickman and Mossman meandering the paths.
It is even possible youngsters could run into the Tooth Fairy they all know and love, and the Fairy Queen and Fairy Princess will reign over the day's events.
Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras for photos of their children with a themed photo board.
A costume parade and contest will be held for pixies and pirates with prizes awarded to the winners.
Fairy gardens designed by club members will be on display, and Chronister said children will be able to purchase seed packets with which to grow their own fairy gardens.
Performances will include a ballet by the Lincoln Park School of Performing Arts and a student violin recital by Jeremy Howard's studio in Steubenville, and a beekeeper will offer a look at the enchanted world of bees.
Events are scheduled to take place in the upper circle of the park, with food, beverages and treats available at the large pavilion. In the event of rain, the activities will also be moved to the pavilion, where there will be a display of whimsical fairy items.
The admission cost is $1 per child and $3 per adult, and the club is asking that all children be accompanied by an adult.