EDINBURG – Dressed in a purple outfit with pink, yellow, and blue wings, and a dinosaur skirt, Molly Peña, 4, sat on a picnic table focused on building a fairy house.
Although Molly wasn’t alone, she was one of the many children who were guests for the annual fairy festival held at the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and World Birding Center Saturday evening, where they got to relish in the scenery around them.
“We came last year and she (Molly) wanted to come again because she had a good time,” said Molly’s mom, Melissa Peña of Edinburg.
Molly, like the other fairies, were able to select all the items for their fairy houses, such as the amount of tree branches, sod, shells and bird seed. All the items were in wheelbarrows along the “Wheel Barrow Trail,” leading up to the location of the fairy house building section.
In addition to all the items collected, the children could also paint and glue their houses to keep the objects together. In some cases, parents assisted their children in making them.
“She loves arts and crafts and loves to paint,” Melissa added.
The evening also offered several activities throughout the walking nature trails and inside the birding center.
Some of the indoor activities included making a nature wind chime, which was made using pine cones, tree cookies, seed pods, shells and string ore creating a flower crown with colored tissue paper and pipe cleaners. The only item that was the same for each object – a child’s imagination.
The outdoor activities included getting hands dirty by making mermaid slime at the mermaid lagoon in conjunction with making a personal owned catapult using Popsicle sticks, rubber bands and a bottle or screw cap.
Another guest was 4-year-old Ethan Fowler, who, with assistance of his father, Rafe was making a catapult. Close by his mother, Alyssa, was capturing the moments on her phone’s camera. Volunteer Michelle Maldonado was demonstrating to them how to make the catapult.
“He (Ethan) likes the pirates and the mermaids, so we came out. My dad’s a big bird-watcher, so we come out here a lot,” Alyssa said. “This was the first-time we’ve come as a family.”
“He loves it and was so excited to come,” she added. “We did the pirate treasure hunt and also got to pet the snake and he loved that too and then he did the mermaid slime. We’ve done a little bit of everything.”
Guests also had the option visit “Candyland,” “Constellation Critters,” become a bird observer at The Lookout.”
Marisa Oliva, manager at the Edinburg World Birding Center, said the fairy festival was to bring the children out of the house and appreciate nature.
“Fairy festival is just another way to help people engage with nature, but not in such a formal education way, but more of a fun, imaginative and romantic way,” she said. “We have a lot of activities and we encourage people to get out of the house and away from the screens and this is one way to use the imagination and to craft away. This is a great place to do it and have fun outside.”
After holding the event during winter and the spring, they decided to hold it in the summer and late in the evening for families to enjoy the gardens at night and see everything lit up.
“Every year for fairy fest, we come up with different things and this year we incorporated mermaids and gypsies, it’s not just fairies,” she said. “We want to make sure boys and girls of all ages have something to see and people like taking pictures out here and we want people to learn through their eyes and learn through what they’re doing and just enjoy themselves.”