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Magical Fairy Glen appears in Willow Glen to bring unexpected joy for families

Mercury News logo Mercury News 4/23/2020 Jim Harrington
a close up of a cake: SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 22: A small door under a tree in the Fairy Glen made by Lili Ghazian outside of her home in the Willow Glen neighborhood in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) © Provided by Mercury News SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 22: A small door under a tree in the Fairy Glen made by Lili Ghazian outside of her home in the Willow Glen neighborhood in San Jose, Calif., on Wednesday, April 22, 2020. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

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Lili Ghazian has been fascinated by fairies for as long as she can remember.

Now, she’s sharing her passion for those magic little beings with others, in hopes of brightening the days of those in need of some light and levity during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Ghazian has turned the area in front of her Willow Glen residence into a fascinating Fairy Glen, drawing families from throughout the neighborhood and beyond to see the colorful little houses that dot the tall trees and surrounding area.

She’s put a lot of effort into creating this magic kingdom — which can be found on the two-block Celestine Avenue, off the major thoroughfare of Curtner Avenue — but it’s all worth it once she sees the reactions from the families.

“The kids’ laughter and their parents’ smiles fill my heart with joy and hope every day and I only hope my fairies would do the same for my community,” she says.

Ghazian says she was inspired to create Fairy Glen after learning about the story of Robyn Frampton, a single mother of two in Overland Park, Kansas, who became known for creating gnome homes and was featured in the documentary film “The Gnomist.”

“I could not stop thinking about the story and how fascinating those gnome houses were and how much joy they have brought to people,” says Ghazian, a wedding planner who previously worked as an interior designer. “And I was determined to create something similar for my own community.”

She quickly turned her sites on doing something with fairies, deciding to create an enchanting land just outside her own front door. She began hitting second-hand stores, looking for odds and ends that she could use for doors, roofs and other building material.

“It’s the most amazing feeling when you turn an unwanted object into something wonderful that would bring joy to so many people,” she says. “I would come home every day with the most peculiar items with a head full of ideas.

“It felt like a treasure hunt and I was enjoying every minute of it.”

She spent weeks working on the project, with a goal of unveiling her glen to Willow Glen sometime in the summer. But, as she says, “the universe had different plans.”

“This past March the whole world changed,” she says. “We were all hit by coronavirus and everything had to stop. Schools, workplaces and gyms were all closed and we stayed home.”

Everyone was scrambling to figure out their places in “the new normal” as the world grew smaller on what seemed liked a daily basis. And on the very first day the shelter in place order went into effect, Ghazian realized she needed revise the timing of her plans.

“I remember seeing parents with their kids walking in our streets as the afternoon sun was setting down and it dawned on me: This is the best time to set up my Fairy Glen,” she says. “It could be something that the kids and their parents would look into visiting daily with joy.”

She had the first structure erected that very same day, with others quickly to follow.

“I tried to work evenings or early mornings when there was no one around,” she says. “I assume Fairies would do the same.”

“A month has (now) passed and this has become an ongoing project which I look forward daily. There have been many visitors to Fairy Glen and the fairies have been receiving beautiful notes and very cute drawings from the kids in their mailbox.

“Yes, there is even a mailbox in Fairy Glen.”

And, apparently, the fairies have been sharing some of those notes with Ghazian.

“I know it sounds cheesy, but every time I read their notes it makes me cry,” she says.

Ghazian says that she regularly sterilizes the glen, as well as wears protective gear when working in the area, to try and keep both the fairies and their visitors as safe as possible.

Yet, it’s still very understandable why many parents might be reluctant to let their children touch the Fairy Glen houses and other items due to the fear of the spread of the coronavirus.

Ghazian points out that people who don’t want to physically interact with the glen can still get enjoyment from just looking at it.

“My goal is to reach as many families as possible and bring joy to my community,” she says.

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