Gnomes get their moment thanks to Izaak Walton League

Gnomes get their moment thanks to Izaak Walton League

Visitors to Gnomes Day Out started their adventure by choosing a fairy name and shrinking down to fairy size before entering the village.

Hawthorne Park was full of tents with activities for visitors on Saturday and close to 20 vendors to support the eighth annual Gnomes Day Out, raising funds for conservation and youth education through the Porter County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America.

The family-friendly event featured art with the Lubeznik Center for the Arts, the NWI Storytellers Guild, dancing, fairy yoga, tea parties, wand making and much more. Guests were encouraged to wear fairy dresses and participate in over 30 activities.

Charlotte Argyilan, 10, of Chesterton, fairy name “Scales,” and her friend Olivia Stanley, 11, of Portage, fairy name “Sky,” were busy enjoying all the activities of the day.

“I loved the freeze-dried Skittles and the chocolate cupcakes,” said Charlotte, as they visited a booth to design fairy wands.

“We have had well over 100 children make wands today,”  said Kristen Byrt, of Beverly Shores, who was coordinating the booth. “I was happy to help as I have always been interested in conservation and what the Izaak Walton Leagues does.”

Tara Farmer, and her daughter Alexandra Farmer, 7, of Portage, heard about the event from Annette Hansen, executive director of the Izaak Walton League’s Porter County Chapter.  Hansen also happens to be the art teacher at Discovery Charter School and spread the word to her students.

“We got to play instruments, dance, and do some fairy yoga,” said Alexandra, holding a dragon figurine she had painted.

Charlotte Argyilan, 10 of Chesterton, and Olivia Stanley, 11, of Portage, create fairy wands at Gnomes Day Out at Hawthorne Park in Porter on Saturday. (Deena Lawley-Dixon/for Post-Tribune)

Katelin Stearns owns a home business in Michigan City and was happy with the turnout at her vendor booth.  She sells book art, custom art, botanicals and crocheted goods.

“We were fairies last year and decided to have a booth this year,” said Stearns.  “This is such a nice event for everyone.”

The rain that hit mid-way through the event did not deter the tea party set for 5 p.m.

Fairy princesses were seated at a low table underneath a tent and received their tea and cookies with Hansen, the Queene Fairy.

“This year’s festival went like clockwork, leaving the fairy troop to enjoy their tasks and performances,” said Hansen, who coordinated the event.  “We had amazing partners, sponsors, volunteers and vendors.”

“Everyone is so generous to help our IWLA Porter County chapter with conservation and education,” said Hansen.

“For our ninth festival on June 21, 2025, we look forward to meeting new fairies and continuing this tradition, guiding young people to see nature in a positive light,” said Hansen.

To get involved with education and conservation, or find out more information, contact Hansen at or (219) 241-7431.

Deena Lawley-Dixon is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.