Article published Sep 20, 2009
Fans of all ages delight in Fairy House Tour in Portsmouth
PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth's South End took on a distinctly whimsical feel on Saturday when dozens of winged girls danced around Prescott Park and the grounds of Strawbery Banke.
However, you don't have to be young to be a huge fan of the annual Fairy House Tour event.
Just ask Juddie Barrett of Durham and Vada Holter of Pennsylvania.
"We are granny fairies," Barrett said with a chuckle as she adjusted the pink fake wings pinned to her back.
Barrett and Holter are in their 70s, but say they love a Fairy House Tour offering that allows individuals to step outside of reality and into the world of the tiny flying creatures made famous by Peter Pan's "Tinkerbell."
The fifth annual Fairy House Tour — sponsored by the Friends of the South End Neighborhood Association — kicked off on Saturday offering a two-day event that transforms the park and gardens near Prescott Park into a "magical kingdom of childhood fantasy."
Individuals pay to gain entry with the money going to charities.
Organizer say last year's event drew more than 3,000 people who helped raise $28,000 for local charities.
The tour is the inspiration of Tracy Kane who is the author and illustrator of the award-winning "Fairy House Series."
Kane, who also produced a video and conducts workshops on building Fairy Houses, was on hand to sell and sign books.
This year's Fairy House Tour event was built around the theme of "Exploring Nature" with all of the miniature fairy homes being built entirely of natural materials.
Families spent Saturday following a trail of pinwheels to various fairy house displays with one being carved out of a pumpkin to look like a mushroom.
Children were invited to make their own fairy houses, but the big draw was the intricate miniatures built by skilled artists.
July Lagrassa of Dover brought her 4-year-old daughter Mia Lagrassa to the event along with both of her grandmothers.
Saturday's event was their second year attending and it didn't disappoint the young fairy fan.
"She loves it ... she's been talking about it all week at preschool," Lagrassa said.
The group said they were amazed by how intricate and creative the fairy house architects are with their designs.
Aileen Dugan and Sarah Nappo created a Christmas themed fairy house that had a feathered wreath bedroom and a cinnamon-stick floor.
Mia dressed in a green fairy costume and danced on the Prescott Park stage with other youths.
Kathy Lagrassa, her grandmother, said she made a fairy house for her granddaughter and described the Fairy House Tour as one of her favorite events to attend.
Holter is in her 70s and drove 600 miles from Pennsylvania to take in the event.
She was also dressed like a fairy with a flowered ring around her head and a pair of antennas.
Holter, who attended with her friend Barrett of Durham and said she loves crafts and watching the young children take part in an imaginary world.
Jollie Mackenzie, 5, came to the event with her mother Tanya and her grandparents.
The young girl dressed as a garden fairy with a petal hat.
When asked what she likes about fairies she responded: "I like that they can fly and make flowers bloom."
Mackenzie's mother said the Fairy House Tour is a fun family event whose afternoon timing is perfect for young children.
The Fairy House Tour event will continue today (Sunday) from noon to 4 p.m.