I had arrived at Fantasy Faire in very good spirits and promptly made my way to The FaireChylde to celebrate the opening of the faire. A DJ merrily played some tunes, not good old bawdy tavern tunes, but decent foot tapping tunes.
One of the reasons for going somewhere that played music was because I knew that it would diminish the sound of any bloody awful singing from Elves, there are always Elves, strange ears and a distinct lack of beards I should add.
Unsurprisingly Elves appeared aboard The FaireChylde, they even danced rather well, although I kept a beady eye on them in case they tried any of their magical tricks.
I felt secure aboard The FaireChylde, after all there were plenty of humans, wizards and all sorts of wonderful races there, I knew they wouldn’t allow Elves to do me any harm, indeed the Elves even started talking to me, asking me where I was staying for the duration of the faire. I informed them that I had not yet found a suitable tavern and then they told me they knew a great place with plenty of lodging, they pointed me in the direction of a place called San Mora.
I should have known better, but the faire has a way of seducing you and putting you in a happy mood. I followed the advice from The Elves and found myself here :
My first reaction was “!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
My second reaction was “Bloody Elves!!!!!”
I soon discovered that I was in an area that had been quarantined following a deadly contagion. Strange buildings, strange vehicles and people, I assume humans, wearing strange outfits and masks.
A sign advised me to go to the docks. I haven’t yet found the docks, I’m not even sure how I get out of this place, there’s a distinct lack of mead, taverns, beards, but on the plus side, I haven’t encountered any Elves yet.
Never trust an Elf. You’ve been warned. Now, where are these docks?
I was recently approached by one of the Faire’s official bloggers with the question of how many posts and items they were expected to blog. I might have confused her with my response, simply because I laughed. Then I explained to her that I don’t care about numbers. As long as the blogger puts her heart into her post, is inspired by the Fairelands and blogs the Faire as the wondrous event it is instead of, say, two items added in a look in a studio, I’m happy with even one post!
To me quality versus quantity is a simple no-brainer: I always prefer quality and quality takes time, it takes effort. It takes inspiration. This is why I do not check your flickr favourite numbers, I do not ask about the amount of your blog feeds or how many social medias you add your posts to. This is why I care only about if I can see your heart in your pictures, if I can see your enthusiasm for the Fairelands in your posts, if I can sense the excitement and fun you are having at the Faire in what you publish.
I am against blogger obligations fiercely: we do this for fun, as a creative hobby, and the best blogging comes from love and enjoyment, never out of exhausted obligated picture snapping. The only obligation I expect you to hold onto if you have applied and been accepted to the Faire bloggers is that you indeed do blog the Faire. How, when and how often is up to you and your muses.
Instead of numbers I wish that all of you go to the Faire: wander, explore, take part in events, quest, admire particle shows, dance with dragons, be chased by Tiny Pawlice, roleplay with the groups within Fairelands, party on FaireChylde, write stories of the Fairelands in Literary Festival, shop till you drop and then when your cheeks hurt from laughing and your spirit is so full of happiness you are about to burst, then I wish you capture that feeling in pictures and words and blog. Trust me, you will be proud of what you do, more than ever before.
You are an important part of the Faire Folk. Let it show. Let others read and see and glimpse the enchantment so they come over to experience the same. We have many blogger challenges, but that is the truest blogger challenge of the Faire.
Every year we welcome almost a hundred bloggers into the early access to the Fairelands, to photograph and capture their beauty when they are still pristine and free from the Lag Monster. This year is no exception.
The Fairelands are wrapped in magic, and we wish to see photographers and writers embracing this spirit: embracing and sharing it with the rest of the world. Eleven days fly by every year too fast and so it is extremely important to spread the word, to invite people to come and enjoy the Faire while they still can.
We moved away from the obligatory assignments several years ago and are instead excited to offer you a variety of blogger challenges to inspire you, and to make your visit to the Fairelands more enchanting. Find your inner Faire Folk or new shinies, reminisce about the Fairelands past or share your reasons to relay! You can browse last year’s challenge responses in our Pinterest Board.
Fantasy Faire 2015 is just about to begin in just a bit over one day but before we look forward, let us take one last look into the past. I asked some creators, Faire organizers and Faire fans to answer some questions about what they remembered about past Fantasy Faires since it all began in 2009. I spoke to Zander Greene, Sonya Marmurek, AineMari Flanagan of MacMoragh and Muse, June Dion of Bare Rose, Skyler John of Mystic Sky, Piper Shan of Piper Shan Designs, Wildstar Beaumont – photographer extraordinaire, Selos Dae creator for Trap, Theta Marseille from Mermaid Treasure, fantasy fan Anigma Eulenberg and even added a memory of my own.
Wildstar Beaumont, the unofficial Fantasy Faire photographer/historian since 2009 has kindly also supplied all photos.
What does the Faire mean to you?
“The Faire is how I honor my father who died of esophageal,stomach pancreatic and liver cancer, we got the diagnosis on July 3rd 1998 and he passed away on September 19th 1998. I am reminded of all the reasons why I remain a fixture in Second Life. Relay for Life and Fantasy Faire is where you see the true goodness in everyone that attends.” – AineMari Flanagan
“For my self, if I can help people. And one year ago, my father got cancer, (and is) fighting it now. So, it becomes more important to help.” – June Dion
“It’s quite inspiring to see people from all around the world come together and donate their time and energy to Relay for Life. I love exploring the sims that are designed for the event and seeing the creations that are set in the vendors for donation items. There are so many talented people involved in this event, its amazing what that group of individuals can do for a cause. I have been in SL now since 2007 and the Relay for Life Faire’s are something I look forward to year after year. We all relay for our own personal reason and I am proud to be apart of such a supportive group of people.” – Skyler John
What was your favorite Fantasy Faire sim ever?
“As so many others, I have too many favourites to list. How does one compare the glass lantern city of Titans Hollow to the serene Lotus Valley Dream, how does one rank the moments of watching the silent ships of Magnificat to the feel of hot sand in the air in Shifting Sands? How does one choose between the depths of The Tides and the heights of Hope’s Horizon? Fairelands are unique, each with their own flavor, each to be loved and lived in, but if I had to choose one, I would call them Saiygewoods, the changing forests that we have had in the Fairelands Junction for several years. I am a forest person and they fill me with soothing peace, wonder and love.” – Sonya Marmurek
“Every Faire has amazing sims especially Alia’s (Alia Baroque) works.” – June Dion
“Ah .. touchy question … As I said I love every single one of them, but I may try to single out a few Dark Mirage from 2011, The Tides from 2012, Lotus Valley Dream, Magnificat and Lumenaria from 2013 (2013 was AMAZING!), Palace of Tears and Medhir Woods in 2014.” – Wildstar Beaumont
“One of my favorite memories was a sim called Magnificat. There were majestic fountains and sailing ships among ancient mausoleums. It was breathtaking.” – Anigma Eulenberg
“The year that most resonated with me was 2013, with the colorful floating lanterns sim I was fortunate enough to have landed a store in. Every year is an adventure of creative minds coming together in an event that constantly inspires and motivates me to do the best I can. Thanks to all who make this happen.” (Trap was on Titan’s Hollow that year.) – Selos Dae
“My favorite sims have of course been all the underwater builds, especially the Sea of Mer in 2011. That was dream build and I enjoyed spending time photographing there.” – Theta Marseille
The Tides – my breath was literally taken away when I first saw it – it was majestic, imaginative, crazily beautiful. I kept coming back to it like I was being lured just to stare and drink it all in. – Halfwraith Caerndow
What is your favorite Faire memory?
“I wanted to share a favorite memory with you. There was a moment during a live music performance back in 2010 that I’ll never forget. Among those in attendance were two amazing dragon avatars. The stage was big, and they were sitting off to the side, enjoying the concert. After a few songs, the musician paused to talk about his reasons for supporting . It was personal for him, as it is for any of us. And you could feel from the things people were contributing to local chat that everyone there was moved by what he’d said. And I watched as those two great dragons rose to their impressive heights and then knelt before the musician. As visual metaphors go, that one was potent. It’s what I love best about the whole idea of a virtual Relay for Life. Where else can you see dragons bowing to troubadours? “ – Zander Greene
The year I went up for auction, I figured no one really knew me, I wouldn’t make a whole lot for the Faire but I figured 10-20,000 Lindens would help at least a little. The support and love we got and the outpouring of generosity was amazing and the total just kept climbing up and up I think I started to cry about 50k in and didn’t stop for the next 1 and 1/2 hours. – AineMari Flanagan
“The Fantasy Faire Jail and Bail event! It was 2012 and I agreed to be tossed into a jail sell of the Shadow Claw sim, people had to come donate to set me free! It was a 5k cap to have my freedom back. I also remember they had a live radio stream and the DJs were talking about me when it was my turn, I remember thinking that was so cool!” – Piper Shan
“Ah! So many. I am not sure which one I may single out, but probably it was to meet and friend Ember Farina and Zander Greene, who managed to grow this wonderful event.” – Wildstar Beaumont
What is your favourite memory of past Fantasy Faires?
Do you love Fantasy Faire? Do you consider yourself homeless the rest of the year because you feel the Fairelands are your true home? (Shamelessly yoinking this wonderful expression from Caitlin Tobias.)
Do you also happen to blog fantasy regularly? Are you squeeing in advance just thinking about the chance to explore the Fairelands and to immerse yourself into them, to indulge in the inspiration they radiate and turn it into pictures and words?
That’s right. We have a month to go before the Fairelands emerge from the mists and so it’s time to look for people to record their brief-lived splendor and to spread the word so that no one misses their chance for a visit.
This year we are going to do things a bit differently. There won’t be any obligatory assignments, instead there’s blogger challenges. You can read more about them in here: Faire Folk | My New Shiny | Why I Relay
We are looking for bloggers who love what they do and who love fantasy, bloggers who live fantasy and cannot wait to explore the Fairelands. We want bloggers who are searching for new looks for their characters (or more permanent selves) and wish to dive straight into the Fairelands for eleven days like the lost fantasy kingdom it is, returning every year to us briefly. We are looking for bloggers who indulge in the whole experience, not just the new shinies, no matter how shiny they might be. (And they are.)