The 9th Home and Garden Expo (HGE) in support of Relay for Life of Second Life and the American Cancer Society, opened its doors to the public on Friday, May 19th. Taking place across nine regions, all called Hope and a number (1 through 9), the event will run through until Sunday June 4th, 2017, offering some of the finest in home, garden, and furnishing designs available across the grid.
With over 100 exhibitors taking part, the event offers something for anyone who is looking for a new home, ideas for furnishing and decor, wishing to improve their building (or other) skills, or who just wishes to keep abreast of the latest building / home trends in Second Life.
With so much to see, it is likely that more than one visit might be required to see all of the designs and gardens – and with the number of exhibitors, pointing to specific creators is a little unfair. However, there are some highlights worth seeing. Two of these are reminders of a past Fantasy Faire – sister event to Home and Garden. One is a design by Alia Baroque, another by Elicio Ember, each of which has wonderful echoes of Fantasy Faire 2015
As well as providing the opportunity to discover the best in housing designs ans itself, there will be a wide range of events going on through the two weeks of HGE, including talks, classes, entertainment, three breedable auctions, a roller coaster However, at the time of writing this article, the event website is conspicuous for its absence of any schedule or significant list of activities, so an eye should be kept on the Home and Garden website for updates.
About the Expo
The Home and Garden Expo raises money for Relay For Life of Second Life (RFL of SL). Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature fund-raising event, and RFL of SL is one of its virtual counterparts. You can find more information about RFL of SL at the official website.
Expo exhibitors are required to have two 100% donation items at the Expo. These items must be new and exclusive to the Expo for the duration of the event.
100% of registration fees, sponsorship fees and donation items are paid to Relay For Life of Second Life. 50% of the proceeds from the gachas will be paid to RFL and 100% of the L$10 hunt items.
The 3rd annual Unmasking a Cure Medieval Faire opened its gates on Friday, May 19th, and will run through until Sunday, June 18th, inclusive. Whether you are into medieval role-play or not, the Faire is offering a host of events and activities right throughout the week, with something for just about everyone to try or enjoy – all with the aim of raising funds for RFL of SL.
The event, organised by a dedicated team of Unmasking A Cure RFL Team volunteers, features a wide range of events and activities and a programme of entertainments. There is, for example, the 5th annual UAC Grand Joust, with eight preliminary rounds leading up to the Grand Joust on the final day of the Faire; a Trivi-a-thon on Sunday, June 10th starting at 08:00; and the 2nd annual Relay Run around the event race track on Saturday, June 25th at 19:00 SLT.
This year, the event is taking place across two regions hosting the jousting tilts, gorse racing course, the sword fighting / mêlée amphitheatre, the archery butts, gotya garden, and a traveller’s camp. Some 80 merchants are participating in this year’s event, and on the entertainment front, the ChangHigh Sisters will be performing alongside top names from the SL arena of live performers, and there will be a stable of DJs to keep folk happy throughout the month.
The activities at the faire are open to all to try, while the merchants offer plenty of scope for shopping – including items available with proceeds to RFL of SL. Table games can also be found by those seeking quieter pursuits or a break from shopping.
Period role-plays are especially welcome, and are invited to visit the faire in character and explore the two regions. For those who would like to fully immerse themselves in the atmosphere, there is a limited number of furnished cottages and tents available for rent for L$250 a week or L$1,000 for a month, with proceeds going to RFL of SL.
For full details of the event, please refer to the Unmasking A Cure website.
The official events of Fantasy Faire are all but over. The Djs have played, the artists have performed, stories have been written and told. Memories have been born, friendships renewed or made. As it is with every year, Fantasy Faire 2017 will leave its mark on all who attended it, whether for their first time, their fifth or as someone who has been a part of the magic since its inception.
But while the formal events have now ended, it is not yet time to say farewell to the Fairelands themselves; they will remain with us yet a while – until the end of Thursday, May 4th, in fact. So if you’ve not yet had the time to visit this year’s realms, now is the time to do so.
Every year, Fantasy Faire, perhaps more than any other large-scale event in Second Life, brings forth a set of utterly unique regions. Each of them is as individual and different from the next as chalk is to cheese; yet all of them are bound together in a way than makes them a unified whole. Together they become not just a grouping of regions, they become facets of a place, a world; realms as united as they are different. Exploring them, it is hard not to feel like a traveller or adventurer travelling a route through a mystical place, on a quest which offers something new at every turn.
That’s why each year I try to bring just a flavour of these realms to the pages of this blog, and why I always mark the closing of each year’s Faire with a plea to all of you who have not enjoyed the Fairelands to take a last opportunity to do so. Whether you are a fan of fantasy or not, you are almost certain to find something among them that captures your attention, or calls to you in some way.
This year I found two regions speaking to me particularly clearly: Dawn’s Promise and The Spirit Pool. Admittedly, both regions have been designed by people whose work I greatly admire – but this is not why either of them became one of my two “Songs” of the Fairelands: both are simply exquisite in design and execution – and the they are far from alone. While it may be a little unfair to point to one or two more regions when all have a particular appeal, I’m nevertheless going to do just that in the hopes of encouraging visits.
Kakushi Pasu, the home of the LitFest and the DJ parties during the Faire is first on my list. I so wanted to write a song story for this region, but never managed to get the words to come together. Designed by Lokii Violet, Kakushi Pasu presents a beautifully executed oriental theme. This is more than enough to attract me; but there is something else about the region which held sway over me: a sense of tranquillity. Despite all the comings and goings of the LitFest, the DJ parties, the role-playing activities, Kakushi Pasu speaks to the heart of peace and rest – and now the core activities have drawn to a close, now is the time to discover this for yourself.
To the south and west of Kakushi Pasu, and reached via Egregore lies Anansi. Perhaps one of the most different environments of recent Fantasy Faires, this is a place which brings together so much: fantasy, steampunk, mystery – and menace. Designed by Beq Janus and Polysail, Anansi brings a touch of Ray Bradbury to the Fairelands through the circus-like look and feel to the region, which carries subtle echoes of Something Wicked This Way Comes. It is a place where each of the stores, sitting upon its mechanical legs or held up by great metal dragonflies suspended from the crane arms extending from stores higher up in the landscape, offer the challenge / threat of treat – or perhaps an insect-like stinging trick.
Further south, nestled between Dwarven Chaddul Ro and Halfling haven of the The Hill (both highly appropriate to this year’s Faire, given the Tolkien celebrations which took place this year), sits Ravens Perch. the fabulously atmospheric region designed by Kaelis Ember and lrriven. This is another place of which I should have penned a Song to add to my little series. A marvellous wrapping of Gothic and mystery, there are tales galore to be found here along the rose-choked streets, between the church-like buildings and around the Lady of the Rose. There is also a beautiful place of reflection to be found as well, a place of special remembrance which speaks to all of us who have lost friends or family to cancer.
These then, are the three regions, along with Dawn’s Promise (see The song of Dawn’s Promise) and The Spirit Pool (see The song of the Spirit Pool) which called to me in particular – and for numerous reasons. But again, they are only five of fourteen fabulous regions. So, if you have not had the opportunity to explore them all and listen to their voices, now is the time to do so, before they each pass into the West and beyond our ken.
Fantasy Faire 2017 SLurls (valid until the end of May 4th, 2017)
Since the dawn of the First Age, when the peoples of the world started counting the passage of Time, we have been here. Keepers of the waters; guardians of Life’s Way; shepherds to those seeking rest as their Path leads to the gates of Beyond.
Carved from the living rock above the waters and below the outspread arms of the Goddess, our halls are open to all, from above or below the waves. Like time itself, our waters flow outwards from their beginning in the hills, passing through tunnel and channel as they seeking the Spirit Pool, while the ebb and flow of landfolk and seafolk mark the beat of the citadel’s heart.
To some we are a place of commerce, folded between land and sea. To those seeking Answers or uncertain of their way as their years wane, we are a place of Sanctuary and peace. The waters of the Spirit Pool offer rest and clarity of vision and thought to those who seek either.
As the world turns, so we have seen the rise and fall of many; but while the years fall like leaves from a bough and the ages unfold as the petals of the flower, we remain. These walls, ancient before the world grew old, tire not. Though countless thousands of feet have walked our piers and halls, the stone beneath them does not fade nor wear. Our banners do not fade.
“Timeless” some might call it; but that would infer we have escaped time. But how do you escape something to which you’ve never been held in thrall? We simply Are; and that is why the weary, the lost, the lingering souls caught between one realm and the next, find their way to us.
Beneath the Goddess’ outstretched arms, within the shade of covered terraces and walks, guided by the lanterns held aloft by the Handmaidens of the Pool or within the waters of the Pool itself, all who are uncertain, all who seek reset before passing beyond the realm of the physical, are welcome here.
As a trader or traveller coming to this citadel for commerce, you may not see them moving among the people here, but we do. Our promises is to care for them, provide the peace they need so that they may hear their own calling. We do not offer direction; we do not encourage passage one way or the other. Each of those bound by time must make their own choice as to which path they will take.
That is how it always has been, here in the midst of the Spirit Pool, and it is how it always will be. We greet you now as friend and traveller, and offer our halls as a place of trading and meetings. And we will welcome you again, one day, when your spirit is in need of rest and your thoughts in need of focus, when the Spirit Pool calls to you once more.