With the onset of spring comes hope, happiness, warmth — and maybe a little magic.
The Jackson School of the Arts will host the 12th annual Fairy Festival this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, on its campus in Jackson.
“At Jackson School of the Arts, we’re all about helping kids discover their creativity and using their imagination,” said Kim Curtis, executive director of Jackson School of the Arts. “The Fairy Festival event is really based on those concepts.”
The family-focused event will take place 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and noon-4 p.m. Sunday, April 13-14.
“I think what makes this different is that it’s so appropriate for families, and multi generation,” Curtis said. “It’s so entirely focused on making it a nice day for families.”
Admission is free, although some events have a fee.
“The arts and crafts activities cost from $1-5,” Curtis said. “There’s nothing here that costs more than $5.”
The festival will include a plethora of events, including performances by the students at the school, games, crafts and vendors. New this year are unicorn rides. And there will be a fairy garden, along with actors and cosplayers playing a mermaid, Captain Hook and other magical creatures and characters.
The hope is that visitors will step into an enchanted fairy world when they enter the festival.
“Our staff has created a fairy kingdom that kids can walk through,” Curtis said. “There’s a castle, there’s a big, giant mushroom that kids can sit on, there’s a little fairy house that children can go in,” she said. Plus, Captain Hook’s ship and a real alligator, and children can have a swordfight with Captain Hook.
Then there’s the animals.
There will be “tanks of giant frogs and dragon lizards,” Curtis said. “The kids can see these animals and talk with the handlers and hold them.”
Thirteen vendors from all over Michigan will be on hand, selling costumes, fairy doors, candles and more.
“They all specialize in products that are related somehow to the idea of fairies,” Curtis said.
Children — and adults — love to dress up for the event, though it’s not required.
“I kind of think of it sometimes as a renaissance festival, but entirely family focused,” she added.
In keeping with the fairy theme, visitors are encouraged to participate.
“We always have a fairy garden contest,” Curtis said. Guests can make a fairy garden at home and bring it in to be judged. Interested families can register and get the rules online (it’s free) before attending. But even people who don’t enter the contest will be able to see everyone else’s creations.
“It’s pretty neat; people are pretty darn creative,” she said.
There will be a ballet performance and a theater performance.
“We use our own students to help with the entertainment,” Curtis said. This helps show off the schools’ mission.
“I just like to make sure people understand who we are and what is our mission,” Curtis said. “Behind all of this is our mission to make the arts available to everyone.” The festival serves as a fundraiser for the school.
Food will be available at a food truck, and sweet treats and goodies also will be sold.
The hope, Curtis said, is that families can come and enjoy a day of activities in an imaginative world.
“My favorite part is just seeing families together just having a wonderful time. Being in the moment,” Curtis said. “Making wonderful memories, I think, is what I like most about this.”
Get more information at jacksonarts.org/events/fairy-festival.