Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Gardner Village Fairy Displays

Have you ever passed the long building painted to look like a horse corral, located in the northeast corner of Gardner Village and wondered what it's all about? Yeah, me too. Until now. I'm here to take you on a behind-the-scenes tour inside this mysterious little Village spot.

You won't find horses inside, but it does contain livestock... if adorable black kitties count. Gardner Village rescued two beautiful babes from a field and gave them a new home here. From what I witnessed, they're quite the happy helpers. With this building holding the Gardner Village witch displays during the off season, it's no wonder they're so at home.

These cute cats have their loving companion, Careen Densley, to thank for their much improved living situation.

Careen has worked for Gardner Village for 20 years and spends much of her time inside this mysterious building. Peek inside and you'll likely spot her, hard at work on the next Gardner Village displays and decor. From witches and elves to her latest magical project... fairies!

With the launch of the second annual fairy display on April 1, we're going to focus our behind-the-scenes look on these friendly faces today.

There are 16 total fairies in The Village. Each special touch--wings, outfits, hair, etc.--was handcrafted by Careen. And designer Debbie Sampson created the mold for their faces and painted each one.

I'm a crafter, and I about fell over where I stood upon entering Careen's undercover corner of The Village. It's a creator's dream, with paint, ribbon, glitter, thread, fabric, and other supplies as far as the eye can see!

This building has to be fully stocked, as the little fairy friends are just the beginning of what is created and given TLC in this space. During the "off" seasons, this is home to the fairy displays, elves, witches, and other seasonal decor.

To give you an idea of Careen's magic, take a look at this transformation.
First, she gathers piles and piles of sticks...

Which she then slices, cuts, and carves.

From the wood disks, she crafts tiny (and adorable!) fairy furniture!

She actually used pine cone parts on these chairs. So clever!

These petite thrones are just the beginning of the handmade touches. Every aspect of the displays were dreamed up and turned into a reality by Careen and her second crafting companion, Wayne VanValkenberg.

This gazebo alone took 6 solid hours to create! The time and attention to detail is something else!

Wayne constructs the larger fairy dwellings, which are quite phenomenal!

I wasn't the only one taken in by this enchanting workspace. As I was visiting, Toni, a Gardner Village guest, actually pulled her car over, hopped out, and came over to see what Careen was up to. Like Careen, Toni fancies fairies. She has a small garden at home she's working on, so she was overwhelmed and in awe of Careen's handiwork. It was fun to witness Careen humbly sharing all she's done. (I think SHE must be part fairy herself. Hmmm... Could she be...)

The Gardner Village fairies will officially wake from their long winter's nap on April 1. Make sure you stop in to see the full effect. With four unique display areas throughout The Village this year, you won't want to miss this growing attraction.

And if you happen to see this sweet face while you're at it, make sure you tip your hat. It's because of her and her team that we get to enjoy so many enchanting (and free!) displays from season to season. Thanks, Careen, Wayne, and Debbie! 

Winner, Winner
Smells like chicken dinner in here! Must be time to announce our winner of the Easter Brunch for 2 giveaway. Thanks to all who entered. We're thrilled to treat JAYNE VANCE to a delicious spring meal on us this Easter Sunday. Please email for details on claiming your prize.

Megan Hoeppner