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Giovanna Roy of Bedford, also known as Mermaid Giovanna, welcomes kids to have their photos taken with a mermaid. (BARBARA TAORMINA/Union Leader Correspondent)

It was a fairy good day in Nashua

A flock of fairies landed in Greeley Park Saturday morning to celebrate Nashua's Fairy Tale Festival, an annual Summerfun city-sponsored event designed to promote literacy.

Coordinated by Denise-Marie McIntosh with the help of dozens of businesses and nonprofit organizations, the festival brings fairy tales to life through story-telling, dance, games, and other activities.

"This year's theme is Oceans of Discovery," said Stephanie Sargent, the head welcoming fairy, who was decorated with plenty of satin flowers and speckled with glitter. Kids were invited to take part in an imaginary ocean voyage led by McIntosh and other area artists and performers.

"And everyone leaves here with a free book," said Sargent.

Mermaid Giovanna, aka Giovanna Roy, of Bedford, was a natural to help open an Oceans of Discovery Fairy Fest. Roy, a student at Colby Sawyer College, runs Mermaid Crowns. The company designs sea-themed sculptured headdresses for specialty boutiques.

Part of the proceeds from Mermaid Crowns goes toward preserving sea life and part goes toward funding autism research.

Roy, a 2011 graduate of Bedford High School, has Asperger's syndrome and is a well-known voice in Southern New Hampshire for raising awareness about autism.

Other organizations set up tables offering traditional festival events.

Marissa Bowdin, 9, and her sister, Jaelyn, 6, said they come to the festival every year dressed as fairies. This year, Marissa came as Ariel from Disney's "Little Mermaid," while Jaelyn opted to dress as Belle from "Beauty and the Beast."

The sisters agreed that the bubble table sponsored by the mason's Rising Suns Lodge was a key attraction.

Olivia Jackson, 3, of Manchester came as a music fairy with wings made of sheet music.

The mission of Summerfun events is to provide free family entertainment for families who live in and around Nashua.

McIntosh sees the festival as a chance to welcome kids, and for parents to use their imaginations to discover and enjoy stories, legends and new ideas. And this year's ocean theme fit with the messages of exploration and discovery.


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