Tuesday, May 07, 2013

May Day Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm 2013

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Story time! My story, that is. Annestory. Sometimes it just happens that I have to open my shirt and gaze into the ol' navel for the sake of future reminiscences. This is one of those times.

Every year my daughter The Spare and I go to the May Day Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm. There are more and more faerie festivals popping up all the time, but Spoutwood is one of the oldest and best situated for pleasing the fae.

If you pop around YouTube or any other image place, you'll find an abundance of video and photos of this annual event. What follows here is a written narrative, from one person's point of view. So maybe I'm doing this for more than just my own sagging memory. Maybe there's a niche for words about Spoutwood.

I had my little Dodge all packed to go last Thursday night when I got a call from Spare. Here's how it went:

Spare: Mom, please don't scream at what I'm about to tell you.


Spare: It's good news. But you've got to promise not to scream.

Anne: I'll do my best.

Spare: I won a scholarship at my school for the child of someone who marches in the Philadelphia Mummer's Parade!

Anne: SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!! *gets all teary*

Spare: Yes, pretty much I'm being rewarded because of your crazy antics.

Anne: *teary* All's right with the world!

The moment I clicked off the phone, I went to my Two Street Stompers treasure trove and fished out this year's suit, my slippers (Adidas spray painted gold), and my parasol. For good measure I pinned on the 2012 championship ribbon we got this year as well. I hadn't planned on rocking Spoutwood in my Mummer's suit, but I was too proud of dear Spare not to.

Anne's List of Portables to the May Day Fairie Fesival at Spoutwood Farm:

1. Stuffed dragon, "Big Red." Goes every year.
2. Wearable faeries, Puck, Chance, and Yule. They go every year.
3. Blindingly neon tie-dye t-shirts and yoga pants from Woodstock Trading Company. The pants were new this year.
4. Mountain hat, also from Woodstock. Pin on hat, "My Heart, My Soul, and My Grave are in Appalachia." Goes every year.
5. Druid cloak. Goes sometimes in cooler weather, glad I had it this year.
6. Money. Because money spent at Spoutwood helps artists, performers, and an organic farm.
7. Drip-dye camisole made by Spare.
8. Comfortable sandals.
9. Comfortable boots.
10. Quartz crystals. Take them every year.
11. Mountain tribe flag made by Pam and Rita Kryglik. Second year.
12. Star Wars Day sign, made by me and Extra Chair.
13. Drum.
14. Sunscreen.


*Sat at a standstill on the Pennsylvania Turnpike for 30 minutes, feeling sorry for whoever had the accident that caused the backup (note the Spoutwood frame of mind already asserting itself).
*Driving through the verdant Pennsylvania countryside on the way to Spoutwood, I noticed a dead deer at the edge of the road. A portent of deity?
*Arrived one heartbeat shy of missing the opening event at which I had to represent Spare and Mountain Tribe. Had to barter my way into the festival by leaving my Mummer parasol as surety.
*Bid hello from the Mountain Tribe on behalf of Spare. Nick of time.
*Looked out over the landscape and cried for joy at being there.
*Retrieved parasol and paid for a 3-day pass.
*Ate lunch with Michael Bull.
*Drum circle with King Trolland. Forever after known as Drum and Mum.
*Said hello to vendors, old and new. This year Cucina Aurora was there! Squeee!
*Party at the Hampton Inn where we stay. All visitors, performers, vendors, and volunteers were invited. This was a lovely way to get to talk to otherwise very busy people.
*Spare, Mr. J and Spare's friends arrived.


*Nice buffet breakfast at the Hampton Inn. I'm too old for camping, and Spare is pretty prissy.
*Driving through the verdant Pennsylvania countryside on the way to Spoutwood. Wait! What do I see? A DEER CARCASS COVERED WITH VULTURES!!!!! Oh, blessed festival that is sanctioned by Sacred Thunderbird!
*Arrived at Spoutwood full of Mountain Sass.
*Greeted incoming guests with Star Wars Day signs, to whit
                     Help us, Obi-Wan Kenobi
                     You're our only hope
                     May the Fourth
                     Be with You
(Okay, nerds, I know I got it wrong. But it's the thought that counts.)
*SISTER! With her cutest dog!
*Mountain Tribe friends! Wow, we are getting clicky! Big Red makes friends for keeps! Maebius and his fantastic son, Jeff, Sis, Jeff's friends, Spare's friends, and (as always) a few people strolling past who were offered the bribe incentive of a token if they would march with Mountain Tribe.
*Tribe Ceremony to Crown the Spoutwood King and Queen. This was Spare's first year as leader. Oh, my three readers, if you only could have seen her strut! In her shiny white Winter Faerie tutu, she's the perfect counterpart for the leader of the River Tribe, who smears himself with mud from head to toe. She was so poised and beautiful. The mountains are proud to call her theirs.
*Drum circle
*Musical interlude -- watched Telesma with Sister, danced to Cu Dubh with Sister.
*Healthy hot dog and smoothie
*Drum circle
*Closing ceremony, where everyone who cared to said how long they had been coming to the festival, and why they like it. I said it was good to have a farm to come home to, now that I'm no longer an Appalachian landowner. Now Spoutwood is my farm.
*Supper with Spare and her posse at Ruby Tuesday, literally the only restaurant approaching real food in the general vicinity.
*Nightcap with the sprightly Bibi!


*Caught a set of Cu Dubh before Tribal Ceremony.
*Mountain Tribe! Maebius and Sis not there, Pam and Rita there, Jeff and friends there again, Spare's posse taking photos and toting banners! Spare and the other Tribe leaders each got a flute. They are challenged to learn a song (or bribe encourage some musical friend to do it) for next year's ceremony. Whew. Sis plays every kind of flute known to humankind and the Bored Gods! River Tribe boasting they have two professional flute players ... well, I'm sure they're no match for the piccolo soloist for the Williamsport Community Marching Band!
*Hugged the Moss Man.
*Pictures and chat in the soft spring grass with Pam and Rita.
*Another nice healthy hot dog! I'm gonna live to be 100!
*Final drum circle. Some dude proposed marriage to his sweetheart in the middle of the dancing throng. (And for the record, this was the very first year I had my own drum. Heir gave me a drum for Christmas, a little, portable bongo drum. So sweet of her, and the perfect instrument for someone like me who is challenged by the idea of counting to four.)
*Stood on the hillside with Spare, hugging and crying because the festival was over.
*Drove back to the city via Pennsylvania Turnpike. Dropped Spare and roomie off in the city, took Spare's other friend home to Snobville.

There's a magic word that everyone says at Spoutwood. It's "Kubiando." The word is original to the festival and was coined by a little girl who went there, many years ago. The faeries gave this word to this festival so we would all have a way to channel great energy from the Earth into ourselves and out to the sky. So we say "Kubiando" a lot at Spoutwood. Sometimes in large groups, sometimes just as a greeting, sometimes as a cheer.

There are other Beltane observances at Spoutwood as well.

  • Love your Mother.
  • Love the faeries.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Be kind to the Earth.
  • Be kind to each other.

Now I will finish this narrative with a thanks to Rob and Lucy Wood, Spoutwood's owners, for throwing open their lovely, stream-fed farmland to 10,000 guests every year. May Kubiando be with you two wonderful people, and to everyone who volunteers their time and trouble for the festival. Those who work on behalf of the fae will be rewarded by the fae. So mote it be.

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Anne Johnson said...

Your comment will be loved, honored, and answered.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

How cool is it that your crazy mumming antics have resulted in a scholarship for The Spare? Hahahahahahaha, I love it!

I'm so glad you had such a good time at the Festival. It sounds like it did your soul GOOD! And sharing all the Festival fun with family, friends and vultures is just wonderful -- I'm happy for you.

Maebius said...

Thanks for another awesome saturday at Spoutwood. Sadly, due to distance anbd our own work/life, we could only attend one day, and it was slightly shortened by sleepy kids, but it was, as you say: Magnificent!

See ya again next year, and if you need any accompaniment, there's a sprogling approaching his second year of flute lessons too. :)

We missed the Moss Man this year, which was unfortunate, but had a blast either way. And yes, Spare was absolutely lovely in her slittering white finery. Perfect counterpooint to the Otter Antics.

Kubiando! <3

Anonymous said...

Glad you had a great time! I wish there was something comparable here in the Deep South (though I know its the place and the people that make it magic)