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Dr. Stonehauser, his trusty helper Chalmers and Capt. Whisleberry took groups of children on an enchanted expedition through Bumblewood Thicket on Saturday.

“If you happen to see something flutter past you with colorful wings, it is almost certainly a butterfly,” said Stonehauser, the serious scientist played by local playwright and actor Cody Henderson.

But for the kids that joined the interactive play, happenings at the thicket appeared more magical than scientific as pixie dust, little teapots and 20 seriously small structures appeared in the trees around Glen Lake Rotary Park.

Whistleberry, played by Duke Huston, brought along his fairy detector 2,000 to track down the elusive creatures. To the delight of many children, the colorful device rang out and lit up at various points along the tour.

Fairy Village

Dr. Stonehauser, played by Cody Henderson, shakes feathers out of his hat during an interactive performance put on by Random Acts of Silliness on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, at Glen Lake Rotary Park.

By the end of the play, Chalmers, played by Zak Lynde, had one last word of advice for his audience: “Bring your perseverance and your curiosity. Take those with you everywhere you go.”

Danielle Thomsen, maven of magic for the local children’s theater company Random Acts of Silliness, directed Saturday’s walking play. So did professional actor and educator Sarah Henderson, who runs Wildarts Bozeman along with Cody.

In addition to directing the play, Thomsen recruited a number of local artists to design and set up the small, intricate fairy structures around the park. The dwellings included a tiny bakery, an enchanted labyrinth and an opera house. They’ve been sitting along the trail there since Aug. 28 and will stay through Sept. 12.

Sarah said kids come into the walking play as fairy allies, and they’re usually pretty vocal about their opinions. The show, which was set to run on Sunday, Sept. 11 and Sept. 12, was already sold out for its entire run by Saturday.

Building collaborations among arts educators and artists in Bozeman is one of Sarah’s goals, and getting involved in the fairy village and walking play was a good way to do that, she said.

Fairy Village

Dappled sunlight falls on The Rosewood Apothecary, created by Elizabeth Henrichs, in the Bumblewood Thicket Fairy Village on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, at Glen Lake Rotary Park.

The Gallatin Valley Land Trust and Bozeman Parks and Recreation Department were partners in setting up the fairy village.

Cody, who wrote the script for the walking play, said he immediately felt a sense of wonder after visiting the Flutterby Thicket Fairy Village along the Gallagator trail last September. Thomsen at the time recruited 10 local artists to help design the village.

Flutterby Thicket didn’t need anything to enhance it, but Cody said he felt a walking play could be a great thing to go along with a fairy village. After brainstorming for several months, he developed a script and sought out a local magician to help with some of the tricks.

“As you get older, you start to lose a sense of wonder and magic,” Cody said. “I tried to find the cynical side of myself and open it up. I wanted it to be flooded with the eyes of a child.”

Ethan and Kristin Stokes loved the play’s lessons about keeping perseverance and curiosity alive. They took their 1-year-old daughter Freya and 3-year-old son Harrison to it on Saturday. The family has been looking forward to the play for a while, Kristin said..

“We’ve just loved all the things Random Acts of Silliness has done,” she said. “We’re thankful to be in a place with things like this.”

Wiss Wisner, one of the approximately 20 “Friends of Fairies” volunteers at the thicket, spent her morning directing kids and families and sprinkling pink pixie dust on peoples’ hands.

Wisner went to the first fairy village last September with her adult sons and husband, and they loved it, she said. The art inspired her to join as a volunteer.

“Everyone thinks this is a kids thing, but it’s for everyone,” Thomsen said. “These are real pieces of art.”

Fairy Village

Duke Huston and Zak Lynde, center, lead Grier Dorseth, left, and Harrison Stokes, right, to a fairy ring during an interactive performance in Bumblewood Thicket on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, at Glen Lake Rotary Park.

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Helena Dore can be reached at hdore@dailychronicle.com or at 582-2628.

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