Fairy houses return to Yampa River Botanic Park this spring
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Yampa River Botanic Park is offering children a fun way to get creative as the snow melts: the annual Fairy Garden House contest returning for a third year this spring.
Children of all ages — but at least one younger than 12 — and their families are invited to participate in the contest that involves building a fairy house made solely from natural materials, such as wood, stone, sticks and sand. Designs must be no larger than 18 inches square and 12 inches tall.
Entries are due June 11 and will be judged at noon June 12. The winner will receive a yearlong membership to the park in their name, and each of the entries will be on display in the park’s Fairy Garden throughout the summer.
According to Kerry Kaster, who has been on the board of directors for 20-plus years, the Fairy Garden is one of the most popular gardens at the park, which is home to more than 50 different gardens on 6 acres of land.
It was Kaster who came up with the idea for the contest three years ago when he himself was building fairy houses for park founder Audrey Enever’s garden.
“We were going to have a space in her garden just for fairy houses,” Kaster said. “And the idea kind of caught on, and we decided we needed a more dedicated space.”
Thus, the Fairy Garden was created.
“We were looking for ways to get kids into the park, and that’s how the contest came about,” Kaster said. “Kids have the most amazing brains that aren’t structured like adults. They come up with the coolest creations. Each year, it’s hard to pick a winner.”
This year, they are hoping for more entries than in past years. And while they don’t normally start advertising for the contest until May, they are hoping that creating a fairy house will be another fun and creative activity for children whose school year is on hold right now and for the foreseeable future.
“We’re hoping this gives kids and families something to do together while kids are temporarily out of school,” Jennifer MacNeil, the park’s executive director said.
The Botanic Park is still set to open for the season May 1. In the meantime, Yampa River Botanic Park staff and volunteers are starting to work in the gardens and get ready for opening day.
“We are hoping that the opening of the park is a celebratory occasion for people to come out and enjoy this community asset,” said MacNeil. “We are currently implementing safety protocol and procedures for our guests and staff to follow when we open, but we are hopefully that we will be able to continue as planned.”
Sophie Dingle is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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