Faeries, Sprites, & Lights Recap
For some people, Minnetrista’s Faeries, Sprites & Lights event is an annual occasion to bring the family together, but there are others who have heard of the event, but are still unsure what exactly it entails. Is it a play production? A summer carnival for kids? When you haven’t ever experienced FSL firsthand, there can be a lot of questions. As a newcomer to Muncie myself, and as a Minnetrista rookie, I approached the same learning curve.
When I started my internship at Minnetrista this summer, I knew two things regarding Faeries, Sprites, & Lights.
- There were children dressed up as faeries
- The event was held in the gardens at Minnetrista
That was about the extent of my knowledge prior to my first day of work. However, over the course of the three month build up to the event, I was able to grasp exactly what the fuss was all about!
First, knowing the history of FSL can make the night a much richer and more unique experience. Throughout the month of May and June, I worked on an article for the Columns magazine (a magazine published by Minnetrista three times a year), writing on the history of Faeries, Sprites, & Lights and Elisabeth Ball. Elisabeth Ball was the daughter of Frances and George Ball. Her family lived in the Oakhurst home and she spent most of her childhood reading books and exploring the Oakhurst gardens. Elisabeth had a huge fascination with faeries. She would invite friends over to dress up in whimsical costumes and told stories to her parents about where the faeries lived. Elisabeth is a key piece of Minnetrista’s history. To honor her and her boundless imagination, Minnetrista created Faeries, Sprites, & Lights. There are a lot of anecdotes told from friends of Elisabeth and pictures of the young girls dressed up as faeries standing right outside Oakhurst. The Minnetrista crew tries to promote the story of Elisabeth as much as possible through the FSL weekend. If you look closely at the decorations and signs throughout the gardens, you can find multiple connections back to Elisabeth. One of my favorite hidden details in the decorations were the Ball jars being used as table centerpieces next to the concession area. If you knew the story of Elisabeth, you’d realize when you look inside the Ball jar that it contained a picture of young Elisabeth dressed up as a faerie. Or if you happened to look down at the stone paved paths leading back to the bubble garden, you’d notice that some of the designs are actually of Elisabeth, her dolls and the faeries.
I was not expecting such a high attention to detail. I knew there would be beautiful lights and hand-made faerie houses, but when I started to look closely I discovered a lot of hidden creativity. There was so much particularity and detail that it would be easy to miss as you walked quickly down the garden paths, it forced me to slow down and pay attention to it all. Some of my favorite faerie homes were the rainboot, rocket ship, castle, front garden, “insect carousel” with a piano, and one that had a bear sitting on the porch with an Oreo on his plate. If you made your way over to the little stream behind the Oakhurst house, you might have spotted the small stone bridge thoughtfully placed across the stream and the tiny boat sitting on the edge. Each were placed there for the faeries who may need to cross over.
And what about some of those small colored lights hanging around? Look closely and you’ll find that they aren’t just some generic Christmas lights, but different colored Ball Mason jars. Small, but thoughtful.
The clever decorations and designs aren’t the only things that caught me by surprise at my first Faeries, Sprites, & Lights. The cheerful live music playing throughout the gardens was an amazing touch as were the character actors so lively they could convince you a faerie had just flown behind your head. It’s no wonder why children are so mesmerized and excited, Minnetrista truly makes the Oakhurst gardens feel like a magical faerie forest.
So, if you’re looking to make the most of Faeries, Sprites, & Lights, take time to slow down and search for the magic that may be disguised in the little details. Knowing a little bit about the event history and taking time to appreciate all of the thoughtful decorations can truly change your view of the Oakhurst gardens and amount of love that is poured into this event. It truly is the little things that make Faeries, Sprites, & Lights so unique and magical.