By RUSSELL JONES
Fairy tales are fanciful stories about magical creatures in fantastic adventures with the strangest mischief. This weekend behind the Sherburne Library in Killington, many of these beloved fairy tales came to life.
The Vermont Fairy Tale Festival is a celebration, not only of fairy tales, but also of Vermont’s public libraries, several of which are hosted this event.
At the festival, libraries throughout Rutland County and central Vermont chose a fairy tale and set up a booth to showcase their story.
“This year we had 11 libraries participating with some familiar and some not so familiar fairy tales,” said festival coordinator Jane Ramos. “We had craft vendors, storytellers, stilt-walkers, costumed characters, games and contests.”
At one event, kids were given 10 minutes to turn their parents into knights in shining armor with a roll of aluminum foil with prizes awarded after. At another event, dragon eggs were hidden on the grounds and were turned in for other prizes.
“We had a fairy village with houses made and donated by area children,” Ramos added, while “the Rutland Garden Club made fairy gardens with the kids.”
Both the Brandon Free Public Library and the Maclure Library in Pittsford participated in the event.
“Brandon librarians were there as gnomes with a table, gnome craft and stories,” said Brandon Free Public Librarian Molly Kennedy, who was part of the planning committee this year. “There were costumed characters roaming the grounds for picture opportunities. We encouraged everyone to dress up as his or her favorite fairy tale character.”
Kennedy said the festival was more than just fun and games.
“Our goal is to offer a festival specifically for children and families that encourages imagination through creative play and fosters a lifelong love of literature,” Kennedy said. “It also gives us the opportunity to showcase the wonderful things community libraries do to nurture our most precious resource: our children.”
The theme for the Maclure Library was the Wizard of Oz.
“Kids made poppies, blew bubbles and colored pictures and they got a small bubble bottle to take home,” Maclure Library volunteer Kelly Connaughton said. “Dorothy and Glenda helped the kids with their projects. They also took pictures with the Wicked Witch of the West life-sized figure!”
The festival also featured an old-fashioned Crankie storyteller. Some of the costumed characters included Winifred Sanderson from Hocus Pocus, Willy Wonka and Mother Goose. There is also a kissing booth where kids could kiss a frog to see if he turned into a prince.
For music, the Irish folk band Oh’Anleigh performed, and several food vendors were on hand.
“We also had a Viking encampment with fighting demonstrations and games for the kids,” Ramos said. “We had knights this year as well, and our state librarian, Jason Broughton, was crowned king and knighted visitors who told him about a great book they have read or a good deed they have done.”
The event was free to the public with a non-perishable donation to the food bank or the humane society. Ramos also said they had plenty of free books for kids to take home.
“It’s a great family friendly event in its second year,” she said. “We alternate festivals; one year it’s a Fairy Tale Festival and one year it’s a Viking Invasion.”
Ramos said that helps so neither group has to immediately start planning for the next event as soon as one is over.
“It gives the libraries a chance to breath and prepare for another great year — and it allows the Vikings to have an event of their own,” Ramos said.