A celebration of fairies and flame

by Chris Lowrance

There are fairies in Greensboro. They descend on the arboretum but once a year, on the day when the light is longest and the night shortest. With gossamer wings both store-bought and handmade, they dance to strange beats, give backrubs and paint faces under the trees. As the first day of summer finally begins to ebb and the fairies crowd into a ring, tempers rise to match the temperature. Fairy mothers grow weary of their wee ones’ complaints after a long workday, cursing under their breath as the fairy administrators once again try to herd the crowd back. “The dancers are going to need a lot of room,” they say, but a man (a prince?) in back shouts “If everyone would sit down, we could all see!” and soon a log-jam of fey folk forms, little fairy elbows butting into fairy sides, wings bent and glow sticks lost in the grass. But now the sun is gone and the word on everyone’s breath is “fire,” here at last, whirling balls of gratifying flame.

As the crowd watches the fire-dancing troupe, a woman whispers to her friend “If you told me this could happen in Greensboro a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed you.”

Actually, Joie de Vivre has hosted the celebration for three years, but this may be the last. According to their website,, the group is in desperate need of donations and business sponsors to “Save the Solstice.” Without it, the Greensboro fairy population will have to find somewhere else to flutter next June 21.