The fairies at River’s Edge will soon have a place to call home again.
After a whimsical fairy garden located in a forested area near the Vedder River was destroyed by teenagers back in June, a group of neighbours who started the magical village are rebuilding it and they are inviting everyone to join them.
On Saturday, Aug. 17, the Vedder River Fairy Village Festival will be taking place at Peach Park, thanks to a grant from the city of Chilliwack and donations from local businesses.
Organizers said they didn’t want the recent vandalism to prevent those who built the fairy village from recreating that same mystical space.
Rebuilding the village is “teaching kids the value of perseverance and the value of rebuilding,” says Sheryl Tyson.
She’s hoping kids won’t have their spirits dampened by this and adds that “the world is still full of magic and love.”
Back on June 16, what was once an enchanting wooded area filled with dozens of miniature colourful houses, fairy figurines, hand-painted rocks and ceramic animals had turned into a forest floor scattered with pieces of broken wood and smashed creations. Started almost three years ago, it was built by the children, parents and grandparents of River’s Edge — a neighbourhood along the Vedder River near Peach Road.
“It was such a fun little spot,” said Tyson at the time, standing in the empty fairy village. “It’s vandalizing things meant for a little child and throwing away little kids’ creations.”
Andrea Dykshoorn from United Way heard about the damage and wanted to help bring the community together to rebuild what was once there.
“We want to bring communities together because people are so isolated. They’re always on their phones or online but not actually having interpersonal relationships and contact with their neighbours,” says Dykshoorn, a community engagement specialist with United Way of the Lower Mainland.
The organization recently started a pilot project called ‘Local Love’ in 10 communities throughout the Lower Mainland, and Sardis is one of them.
“United Way is supporting neighbourhood-building in Sardis. We want to invest in communities to help people meet their neighbours and show what we’re calling ‘Local Love’ — loving where you live and breaking down those barriers,” adds Dykshoorn.
United Way will have volunteers at the event, their mascot, plus they’re helping to purchase supplies and food.
The City of Chilliwack has given a $600 celebration and activity grant under its Neighbourhood Grant Program, and a few other businesses are helping, too.
Wacky Ceramics of Chilliwack will be donating ceramic pieces for children to paint, and even a business on Vancouver Island is chipping in.
Amanda Chapman of Fae’s Fairy Ring in Victoria could see the passion that Ryan Tyson and Zack Lamoureux — two of the boys who first contributed to the village — had.
“I really liked their tenacity and we-can-fix-this attitude. Their thoughtfulness and creativity created a wave that added joy to other’s lives. I knew right away I wanted to be a part of it,” she says.
She will be shipping fairy house lanterns, mushroom ornaments, and also a commemorative plaque with a custom message to be added to the rebuild.
On Saturday, Aug. 17, children and adults who want to help rebuild the fairy village are welcome to head down to Peach Park from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for a day of fairy house painting, rock painting, button-making and other crafts. There will also be a hot dog barbecue from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
People can either bring their own miniature homes (unpainted/undecorated, or finished) or they can paint one at the event. Houses, craft supplies, paint and more will be supplied.
All of the pieces will then be added to the fairy village located about 150 metres east of the park just off a trail leading to River’s Edge.
The Vedder River Fairy Village Festival takes place Saturday, Aug. 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Peach Park. This is a free event and open to everyone.