FERGUS — After a successful debut last fall, organizers of The Enchanted Forest of Fergus say they are excited to host the second annual event in the forest behind the Wellington County Community Sportsplex on Sept. 22 and 23.
Co-founder Julia Zimmerman said she has dreamt of creating a fantasy-themed event in a forest setting for several years, originally adopting the name “Mushroomville.”
“We were kind of set on that name for a while, but we didn’t want to pigeonhole ourselves into being exclusively about mushrooms, and decided to go with the Enchanted Forest of Fergus,” Zimmerman told the Advertiser.
“We made it one of our post-COVID goals to get it up and running, but when we first had the idea, we didn’t know when that would be… it’s great to be able to say we are already in our second year.”
The event supports Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Centre Wellington and donated $5,000 to the organization in 2022.
“Youth are at the heart of the forest – we wanted to create a space that brings imagination to life,” Zimmerman said.
“We recognize that kids have an innate ability to live authentically and that’s the approach we try to cultivate.
“BBBS is aligned with our values, and we wanted to support them.”
The event features a twilight performance at 7pm by the Toronto String Quartet followed by a 1930s-style jug-time act by The Vaudvillian.
For those who like to dance, there will be funk, soul and rock covers by Yasgurs Farm on Friday night and by The Sidewalk Crusaders on Saturday.
After moving to Fergus in 2021, Zimmerman began mapping out the event.
“We purchased our first home here, and decided it was the perfect place to host our show. Our first year drew more than 1,200 guests, so we decided to make it an annual event,” she said.
“The forest brings together an enchanting evening for people to wander through and enjoy a dream-like experience. My husband and I wanted to create an extraordinary, whimsical destination.”
The Enchanted Forest of Fergus welcomes guests through an illuminated archway and begins at 5pm. The organizers also encourage attire that “a fairy tale would suggest.
“We have more than 25 specialty and local vendors selling curated and handmade goods,” Zimmerman added.
Food vendors include Groovy Grilled Cheese, The Badley, and Lady Glaze Doughnuts.
“We’ll have tarot readings, magic shows, LED flow artists and a few new surprises this year,” she said.
The event is family and pet-friendly, and welcomes guests of all ages. It also features an artisan market, strolling performers and a fully licensed beer garden operated by The Outpost.
“It’s so rewarding to see everything come together and we are so grateful to the community for supporting us,” Zimmerman said.
“We couldn’t do it without them. I’m looking forward to this year’s event and to seeing it grow over the years.”