In what might be the last of a popular Edmonds tradition, the annual Fairy and Elf parade — a much-anticipated Edmonds day-before-Mother’s-Day event — got off to festive start Saturday with more than 30 participants under warm sunny skies.
The reason for uncertainty? The organizer, leader and self- admitted “head fairy” — long-time Children’s Librarian Edith Farrar — has announced her retirement effective the end of this month. As of yet no one has jumped in to take over the event.
Saturday’s march began in the usual way, with children and parents gathering at the library to assemble costumes, make magic wands and apply appropriate makeup. At noon sharp they left the library and were led down Main Street by Farrar, who kept up a lively marching tune on the accordion. Arriving at the Museum Spring Garden Market, the fairies and elves marched straight to the market’s heart, where they planned to circle around, dance and otherwise take over the Market scene.
But as fate, time and chance would have it, this year an unexpected wrinkle threatened to upset the plans.
Just as the parade pulled into the heart of the market, it encountered buskers Dana Wenzel on violin and Andrew Kim on cello, who were hoping to augment their college funds with a little street music (both Edmonds-Woodway High School students, Kim graduated last year and Wenzel graduates this year). They were in the midst of a classical duet when Farrar’s accordion threatened to drown them out. But as the skilled musicians they are, both picked up Farrar’s tune and played right along, not missing a beat, ultimately turning in a virtuoso combined performance with Farrar, all to the applause of the assembled market-goers. It was one of those magic Edmonds-kind-of-moments that just seem to happen in this town.
But with Farrar’s retirement looming, this might mark the event’s last hurrah. Her shoes will be hard to fill.
A natural pied piper, Farrar is a gifted story-teller, musician, actor, teacher and local celebrity. When not reading to and otherwise enchanting kids in the Edmonds Library, she pursues her other various passions including serving as beachmaster to the annual New Year’s Day Edmonds Polar Bear Plunge, and performing with the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band. As the world’s only sedentary drum majorette, she marches, twirls and tosses a baton, and keeps the band together, all from the comfort of a folding chair.
“I’ve been running the Elf and Fairy Parade for, I don’t know, eight to 10 years, I guess,” Farrar said. “I’m not sure what’s going to happen to it in the future.”
Whatever the future holds, we can all be grateful to Edith for the magic she’s brought to our town, and the memories our children will always carry. March on girl, march on!
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel