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Fae Festival bringing magic back to Ix Art Park

If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to pull your elf ears, fairy wings and flowing gowns out of storage, this weekend’s for you. And if you don’t have a whimsical wardrobe to draw on for special occasions, you’ll get a chance to whip up something in a workshop or pick out accessories in a medieval market.

Ix Art Park Foundation is presenting its second family-friendly Fae Festival, billed as an “imaginative urban Renaissance faire,” from 3 to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday outdoors at Ix Art Park.

“It’s one of the only Renaissance festivals on the East Coast,” said Maria Vitale, marketing director at the foundation. “Ours is a little bit unique because it’s in a cityscape.”

Vitale said that organizers were delighted last year to see as many as 90% of the 6,000 attendees at last year’s inaugural event capture the spirit of the festivities by dressing up in some fashion, including simple masks, headgear and even fully coordinated costumes. “In Charlottesville, there aren’t many places where you can dress up,” Vitale said.

Many costumes took inspiration from medieval and Renaissance attire and all kinds of fairies, sprites, gnomes and other residents of the magical realms and fairy tales. There is plenty of room for individuality and imagination, free of judgment. This event’s cityscape setting gives visitors more leeway to explore other creative options, just in case your inner office executive elf is calling.

This year, Saturday’s festivities will begin after the Ix Farmers Market concludes for the day, giving everyone a little more room to roam.

There will be a variety of free workshops and demonstrations, although registration may be required for some offerings. Macramé jewelry and pressed-leather masks are among the possibilities for those who want to build skills for next year’s costumes, while instruction also will be available for making herb sachets, brooms and other keepsakes.

The medieval market will offer wares from more than 50 vendors offering handmade crafts, artwork, herbal remedies and other items. Visitors can get adorned with face painting or henna tattoos, as well as tarot and palm readings.

Daily tickets to the Fae Festival are $20 for admission to both the outdoor festival and the Looking Glass immersive indoor art museum, or $15 for festival admission only. Weekend passes are $30 and $20, respectively, and visitors ages 12 and younger get in for free. Find all the details at


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