Pop quiz, hot shot: You're in enchanted faerie land and offered faerie food. What do you do?
Well, according to legend, if you dance in a faerie circle or eat faerie food in faerie land, you'll be stuck there forever and become a faerie yourself. But if you're as hungry as we were this past weekend at Estrella Mountain Regional Park in Goodyear, where the Phoenix Faerie Festival was held -- you eat the food.
Thankfully, our corn dogs were not enchanted, and we were able to return to the real world relatively unscathed and greatly amused. Our journey to the "magical realm" of Estrella Mountain took us far west in the Valley, past numerous retail pavilions and acres of cotton fields, and into the mountainous desert. It was sort of remote, but totally surreal, as hundreds of wings -- from the glittery to the spiny to the shiny -- fluttered and bounced on the backs of local "faeries."
There were also pony rides, an ice cream truck, a tattoo trailer, and a couple of Juggalos.
For those who don't know, "Juggalos" are hardcore fans of hip-hop act Insane Clown Posse, and they're easy to spot because they're often wearing crazy clown makeup like the guys in ICP, or wearing clothes that bear the ICP logo. The two Juggalos we saw were in the latter group, which made us happy because we really don't want to see an ICP Faerie. We did, however, get a kick out of the Rainbow Fairy we saw drinking Pepsi by the Goblin Market.
There are all kinds of faeries, apparently, including scary faeries, butterfly faeries, seasons faeries, steampunk faeries, and toddler fairies. We also saw plenty of goblins, knights, a few trolls, an ogre, and some dude that looked like shrubbery. And just like Black Sabbath sang in "Faeries Wear Boots," many faeries were sporting boots (mostly Demonia and New Rock brands). You don't want to kick a unicorn wearing a pair of those.
Yes, there was a "unicorn" at the Phoenix Faerie Festival. It was really just a horse statue that someone threw a blue wig and a horn on, and it made us think of that line from the Bloodhound Gang song "Screwing you on the Beach at Night": "I would show up for our pottery class dressed like a pirate with John Water's mustache/On a unicorn that shits your name in stars."
Speaking of music, there were two stages featuring entertainment at the fest, "The Wingspan Stage," and the "Goblin Cage Stage." On Saturday afternoon, we watched enchanting faerie dancers (imagine rhythmic gymnastics, but with flowing robe-wing things instead of ribbons and hoops) and caught Kenny Klein's guitar-and-fiddle folk set at the Wingspan Stage. Klein played a cheeky, breezy set, singing things like "I'm not really a pirate, I work at the Renaissance Fest."
There was a "Bad Faerie Parade" in the evening, followed by Queen Mabb's Bad Faerie Ball. Picture a desert rave where everybody's wearing wings and bumping into each other because their head dress/wig/feather crown/dragon-puppet pet is obstructing their vision. Serious fun.
The festival continued on Sunday, but once we escaped from faerie land on Saturday, we never found our way back. We did, however, pick up some delicious Lady Grey tea and a bundle of Sandalwood incense from two of the numerous vendors hawking their faerie wares. And we got a photo of some faeries in front of the magical tattoo trailer.
Niki has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and PHOENIX magazine, and is now a full-time freelancer.