Winters in Binghamton can seem long, dreary and gloomy. While the cold weather and inhospitable wind may keep people cooped up inside, the Bundy Museum of History and Art opened its doors for its first-annual Winter Happiness Festival on Saturday.
Festivalgoers were welcomed in the Bundy Museum Annex with ambient lighting, vintage decorations, felt art, wands and pixie dust for sale. Visitors were offered complimentary tea at an old-timey bar and four free scones in a variety of flavors, such as organic lemon lavender poppy seed and lemon berry with gold sprinkles. Visitors voted on their favorite flavors and had the option of purchasing more.
Janna Rudler, director of development at the Bundy Museum, emphasized the variety of scones available.
“We did a call for scone bakers and ended up with 16 dozen scones donated for today with 11 different flavors,” Rudler said.
Admission cost $5 per person, giving guests access to every event and activity at the festival as well as the entire Bundy Museum. The festival included a mini garden contest, tea tasting, a scone throwdown, goods available from vendors, a photo booth, a gratitude wall, fairy-inspired hairstyles, laughtercise led by Traci Pena and numerous other options. All the proceeds from the festival went to benefit the Bundy Museum. According to Rudler, the Winter Happiness Festival is the biggest fundraising event the Bundy Museum has hosted.
The event originated with Pena, a local community member and fairy enthusiast who organized the first Fairy Scavenger Hunt in Binghamton last summer. This year’s Winter Happiness Festival grew out of that event.
“We wanted something in the wintertime to get people’s spirits up and introduce a little bit of fun during a dark time of year,” Pena said.
In addition to having a multitude of events and activities for guests within the Bundy Museum, the Winter Happiness Festival also included off-site events such as free magical arts and crafts for children at several local libraries and The Grapevine Cafe’s fairy-themed happy hour. The cafe served fairy-themed drinks, displayed fairy decor and played fairy-inspired music.
The Winter Happiness Festival also welcomed families with a scavenger hunt set up throughout the museum. While the festival was effective at raising money for the Bundy Museum, Rudler emphasized the visibility it brought to a local organization preserving and celebrating the past and present of the surrounding area.
“It allows people to come see a place that they maybe haven’t seen before,” she said. “The vast majority of the people that have been here today have never been to the Bundy Museum. It brings in a whole new crowd of people and gives them something new to do.”
Pena said she hoped the event raised attendee’s spirits and encouraged happiness and laughter among community members during the winter months.
“In the dull months of winter when you can’t get outside and do a lot of fun things, I love adding laughter, joy and magic to things,” Pena said. “That’s something that I think everyone should take part in. It should be a part of everybody’s life. I’ve seen the way laughter transforms people and I love bringing people together and connecting them.”