1. It’s for a range of ages
The annual Fairy House Festival is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, at the Latta Plantation Nature Center. All ages are welcome to construct a house fit for a fairy while reconnecting with nature. The event, in its 11th year, also features children’s games and food vendors.
2. There are rules for the houses
The Fairy House Festival is intended to have participants walk away with greater understanding of natural resources, said Christine Lawson of the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve. With that in mind, there are a few rules: The houses must be built within the village limits, on the section of trails at the back end of the preserve, and they must be made with natural, native, living materials. “We don’t want them pulling up moss,” Lawson said. “We want to focus on twigs and sticks and stones. Usually we say if it’s green, leave it alone.”
3. Some of the houses stay year-round
Though the festival is only one day a year, a select number of the all-natural houses constructed are left for those using the site to see. Lawson said the selection of homes is based on how they are built. “We’ll take a look at all the houses, just to see what everybody’s built and pick a few winners,” she said. “We do take some of them down. We do a couple of them up, to leave this whimsical.”
4. Costumes are welcome for homebuilders
Coming to the festival in costume is not required but is encouraged by the preserve staff. It can include brightly colored wings or a tall, pointed hat depicting a gnome. The festival also includes storytelling, children's crafts, activities and games – all focused on fairies and nature. Free popcorn is included in the ticket price, which is $5 for ages 5 and older.
5. It’s one of the preserve’s biggest events
There are 1,500 tickets on sale, and Lawson said the festival is “getting bigger and better every year.” About 3,000 people showed up a few years ago. The event is rain (or snow) or shine. Advance purchase of tickets is required. They are available through the Fairy House Festival Facebook page or by visiting one of the three Mecklenburg County nature centers. Latta Plantation Nature Center is at 6211 Sample Road in Huntersville, at the first parking lot after the preserve gate.