This is a message asking for your help. If you read no further, and would like to help, please book your tickets to this year’s Fairy Fair now, and bring your friends.
But to find out more, please read on.
It may seem strange to say so but putting on the Fairy Fair is a very stressful activity. So much so that in 2017 we didn’t do it at all, much as we love the Fair and its’ autumnal sister, The Real Halloween. Over the years, costs have risen, expectations have risen, rules and requirements have increased, and due mainly to the knock-on effects of ‘austerity’, it has become harder and harder to find enough crew and volunteers, and the Fairs have sometimes covered their costs, sometimes not.
Sarah Wise timing the procession (mid background behind the Queen and Knight), 2016 Fairy Fair
Consequently I’ve seen it take a toll on many people who’ve worked hard to make it happen but most of all, on my partner Sarah Wise who created and ran 15 of these ‘big’ events, as well as most of our Magical Workshops. Every year we tried tweaking the formula to make it a great day out for families and deliver on our core mission of engaging children in nature, and do better than covering its costs but too often, it lost money. The burden then fell on our freelance paid crew who often donated back their very meagre wages and on Sarah.
The Fairs may have looked good and felt good but they were always run on a shoelace and that got more and more threadbare, until in 2016 after a particularly cold and wet spring, the shoelace snapped. For the sake of her own health we decided that Sarah couldn’t do any more of these events.
The most stressful aspect of all was waiting to see if we were going to sell all the tickets and do better than break even, for lacking any other income than the donations of our few dozens of regular donors (our Supporters), the Trust relies on proceeds from the Fair to cover its key costs. For instance our stores alone cost some £500 a month to rent, year round. The worst part was that in many years lots of people (more than half) waited until the last week before to actually buy tickets.
Abbie Panks of Creative Orchard, Fairy Fair 2016
Thankfully, for 2018, Creative Orchard has stepped up to run a Fair in a slightly new format. Creative Orchard is a company run by long-time Fairyland crew member Abbie Panks. The Fair will include a special Zone of Fairyland Workshops demonstrating what we actually exist for – engaging children in nature – but also more activities designed to make sure it can make a decent donation to fund that charitable work, which mainly means sending out Workshops to events all over the country. Abbie is taking on the financial risk herself because she believes in the charity.
This will only work – and the Fair and The Real Halloween can only continue – if enough people buy tickets, and buying them early rather than waiting until the last minute, will really help. (To reduce costs we are not selling Workshops in advance – they can be booked on the day).
So if you only do one thing, which is easy and simple, please book now.
If you are up for lending more of a hand and maybe giving something back if you or your family members are among the 150,000 who have enjoyed Fairyland Trust events over the years, please become a Supporter. We currently only have about one Supporter for every 1000 visitors to our events and Workshops!
If you have time or energy to get more involved in fundraising or projects like the Fairy Meadow (we still need help to find a plot to buy), please do get in touch with me.
Finally, Sarah and I will be at the Fair in the Fairyland Trust Workshop Zone. It would be great to see you if you can come along for a chat.
All the best
Chris Rose (Sarah Wise’s partner)