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Wings, wands and woodland wonderland at Holt Hall Fairy Fair

PUBLISHED: 19:11 24 May 2015 | UPDATED: 19:36 24 May 2015

The fairies take over Holt Hall over the bank holiday weekend to hold their annual Fairy Fair in the grounds celebrating all things nature where kids and parents can learn about the natural world. Scarlett Carter 

Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

The fairies take over Holt Hall over the bank holiday weekend to hold their annual Fairy Fair in the grounds celebrating all things nature where kids and parents can learn about the natural world. Scarlett Carter Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

Archant Norfolk 2015

Wings with wellies was “the” look among fashionable fairies at a major north Norfolk event which got under way today.

Some 5,000 big and little people are expected to have flocked (and possibly fluttered) through the gates of Holt Hall for the annual two-day Fairy Fair staged by environmental charity The Fairyland Trust, by the time it ends tomorrow evening.

Waiting to greet today’s visitors was a woodland wonderland with treats including Maypole dancing, fairy den building, storytelling, pirate games, and even a pirate “booty” clinic for would-be pirates to perfect their warts and scars.

A wet afternoon led to a few damp dryads and soggy sprites, but someone must have cast an enchantment spell because no-one seemed too bothered by the rain.

Abbie Panks, spokesman for the trust, said the event had been a sell-out for the last half of its 14 years.

A second clutch of extra tickets for this year sold out online within four minutes.

“People seem to like the quality of what we are doing,” said Ms Panks. “Everything we do is fun, but it’s also teaching children about nature.”

She is now seeing child fairies from the event’s early days returning as adults with little fairies of their own.

Among popular activities this year are fairy crown and wing-making workshops which introduce children to wildflowers, butterflies and moths, and Bug Bling jewellery-making where they can colour their own beetle and wasp bracelets with information cards to tell them about different creepy-crawlies.

A Wildlife Hospital is proving a hit with very young children who enjoy treating toy animals for ailments and then choosing which habitat would make the right bed for their patient.

Mingling with the crowds are a stilt-walking ballerina fairy, and two former trolls, hexed for bad behaviour by the Fairy Queen, during the trust’s autumn Real Halloween event at Holt Hall, who turned them into giant bumble bees.

Rescued birds, including a raven and baby barn owls have been brought along by Wild Touch Rescue and children are able to view them at close quarters, and touch some of them.

“We’ve been called a ‘very organic Disneyland’ and ‘Glastonbury for children’ but I think what we do is unique,” said Ms Panks.

“We’re showing how much fun you can have outdoors and how it can inspire learning. A woman told me recently that her child had spotted a butterfly in their garden and said to her: ‘That’s a Holly Blue’. She had learned that at a Fairy Fair. It made it all worthwhile for me!”

It was not just the mums and children who dressed up for the event. Several dads were sporting wings and wands today, including Andy Luke, dressed as a stormtrooper fairy, who was there with his daughters Leia, three, and one-year-old Anya, and partner Shelley Locker.

The family, from Lakenham, near Norwich, are Star Wars fans and it was their first foray into fairyland.

“We’re loving it.” said Ms Locker. “The girls love going into the woods, having little adventures, and making fairy houses. They’ve been learning about trees from the Fairy King too.”

Chris Hawkins and Anna Pryce brought daughter Willow, five, and 10-month-old son Hendrix to Holt Hall for the day from their home in Dunstable, having been delighted with their first visit last year.

“I love the way it teaches Willow about being kind to wildlife and wildflowers,” said Ms Pryce. “It’s a safe, friendly, family environment. We’ll definitely be back again.”

■ The Fairyland Trust’s Real Halloween event at Holt Hall is on October 24 and 25. Tickets will go on sale in August. Visit: www.fairylandtrust.org


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