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At the Flights of Fancy Flight School and Candy Shop, fairies learn to fly while their parents sip on nectarinis and poppy juice. A few feet from the school, the magical creatures cycle through an obstacle course to practice their skills.

“All fairies can fly, but not all of them know how to fly,” said Anna Visscher, a local artist who contributed to the Flutterby Thicket Fairy Village along the Gallagator Trail. “I have a story in my head, but I love watching the kids create their own stories.”

Visscher spent at least a month designing her fairy house, one of 10 in the thicket. The project has taken Visscher back to her childhood, when she built tiny homes for magical people. Now she runs a gallery where she helps others share their art.

“It’s fun to be the artist again,” she said.

Danielle Thomsen, founder of a new children’s theater company called Random Acts of Silliness, recruited 10 local artists to create the village. Artists created a cobblery, a playground and other whimsical structures for the fairies.

Thomsen wanted to inspire kids to make their own houses. The houses are made of natural materials. They will be up until Oct. 5.

“It’s another way to spread joy. Social-distanced joy,” she said. “Each house has a story and a name behind it.”

The Gallatin Valley Land Trust helped Thomsen by promoting the village and getting her the proper permits. People who want to explore the thicket can download a map from the Random Acts of Silliness website.

“It’s whimsical, it’s magical and it captures the imagination,” said EJ Porth, GVLT’s associate director. “It’s another fun thing families can do to get their kids outside.”

Random Acts of Silliness has been putting on free improv shows around town to give kids a fun outlet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thomsen said their next show will be a “sillified Halloween show” full of tomfoolery.

Though most of the houses are somewhat durable, Thomsen encouraged kids to not to disturb the magical creatures. She said she’d already recruited some second graders in the neighborhood to protect the village.

“They were delighted and mystified to find their playground trees transformed into a fairy village,” she said. They promised to patrol the area every day, even making “fairy village ambassador” patches, Thomsen said.

Sharon Glick, an art teacher who created the “Willoworks Playground,” said she’s always loved the intersection of creating art, working with kids and going outdoors. She couldn’t pass up the fairy village opportunity.

“Being outside has been everyone’s saving grace the last several months,” she said. “The world feels happy down here.”

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Helena Dore can be reached at or at 582-2628.

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