The reading was followed by painting colorful rocks, all part of the outreach program for the upcoming Berkshire Mountains Fairie Festival in June.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The audience was small but its members rapt as Kristen DeMeo read her book "The Garden Fairies" at the Williams Bookstore on Saturday morning.
The reading, along with some painting activity, is part of a push to get fairies front and center this spring in anticipation of the third annual Berkshire Mountains Faerie Festival on June 16 at the Adams Agricultural Fairgrounds.
Gail Sellers, adorned in a woodsy tiara with butterflies, said the organization is reaching into the community to get kids — and adults — excited about this year's festival.
"We're going to be making dragon eggs at the UNO Center this week, and we'll be making slime with the kids at one of the schools," she said. "I would like to do more outreach ... we're looking to tap into the creative energy."
The festival began as an idea at the Adams Arts Advisory Board that blossomed into a full-fledged, all-day event in a matter of months. While some of the original organizers are moving on to other cultural ventures, a core group is working to make the festival self-sustaining event that will help attract people to Adams and North Berkshire County.
Some favorite activities will not only return but be expanded upon. The Black Willow Woods Faerie Village — set off in a quiet grove — will be back for kids and parents to create tiny fairy homes with natural found objects such as acorns, bark and shells.
A big 30-by-60-foot tent will be erected for storytelling and painting activities, including embellishing fairy wings, fantasy makeup, a public painting project and more.
Lots of vendors will be on hand — from wandmakers to jewelers to handmade wares. New this year for entertainment will be Celtic pub band Three Pints Shy along with returning performers puppetmasters Robbins-Zust Marionette Family Theater and drumming with Aimee Gelinas of Tamarack Hollow. Ravensbane Fire Craft will also be back with blazing production.
More than 2,000 people attended last year's event.
This week, "fairy ambassadors" will be at the UNO Community Center on River Street in North Adams to paint dragon eggs — fired clay eggs made by volunteers a few weeks ago. Fairy ambassadors will also be showing up at other community events to hand out free festival passes for children.
On Saturday, DeMeo wrapped up her storytime that came complete with props by reminding the children to "always believe because dreams do come true." They followed Karylee Doubiago out to the grassy lawn to paint smooth stones and have their faces done. Fairie Queen Deirdre and Grulaach the wizard posed for photos.
Sellers said the group had wandered around the Williamstown Farmers Market across the street.
"We got a lot of feedback," she said. "People were very receptive. ...
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