Welcome to the Greensboro Summer Solstice Festival! Featured here is the Dream Team – the behind the scenes talent that recruits, trains, schemes and implements the most creative festival in the city. These veterans and current leaders are dedicated to raising the bar year after year. We are deeply grateful for their contributions of style, skill and humor.
Susan has always had a flair for communal gatherings paired with creative presentation. The Solstice has allowed her to build a tribe of like-minded people who share their talents and celebrate life on a regular basis. She knows how to surround herself with people who can “make it happen.” Her life journey moves through a timid childhood to a rebellious college student, a strident feminist, a serial entrepreneur, devoted wife & mother — and landing in the world of the Faerie Goddesses. Susan is passionate about living her life out loud, spreading joy and building a better world. Words to live by — “If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much space.” & “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” Ghandi
A great fan of festivals of all types, Ling Sue was drawn as an attendee to the Summer Solstice Festival for many years before joining the team. Using imagination and resourcefulness to create and share celebrations is her passion. Community-minded & fun-loving, years of planning private parties, community events & festivals has only fueled her love for organizing. She enjoys working behind the scenes with vendors, artists & performers. She looks forward to a fantastic celebration of the Summer Solstice Festival. “And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Roald Dahl
Boomer Sassmann – Web Wizard
He is a blend of his parents — a super creative techie who takes life as it comes & sails through with an easy going disposition. Boomer is the first contact with the public on Solstice Day — guiding the 100+ vendors to their destination, then filling in wherever needed throughout the day. A graduate of Appalachian State University, with a degree in Industrial Design, Boomer is in his 11th year of running Big Boom Design and loving every minute of it. On the weekends you can find him tinkering on some type of automotive project or enjoying the beautiful view of the mountains at his home in Asheville, NC. He loves to talk about the internet and always welcomes the chance to brainstorm over a local Asheville brew or tasty cup of coffee.
Lynn Hoffman – Web Queen
Lynn and her best bud Lorrie checked out the very first Summer Solstice and found it awesome. The next year she volunteered to help prep the grounds before the Solstice and has volunteered in some capacity every year since. She now makes website changes & updates and has been both vendor & performer with Twisted Dance for years. She will continue helping/participating where she can because she loves the Summer Solstice & thinks it’s the most fun ever!
Zora Medor – Faerie Dancers’ Muse
Zora grew up in the eccentric yet charmed state of Vermont where independence of spirit and mind are celebrated; and elves and fairies frequently masquerade as human beings. She started directing and creating original theatrical works in childhood, and hasn’t stopped for a second. She continues to write, direct, act and teach theater and film/video productions and classes throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Debbie is honored to be organizing volunteers to gather donations at the entrances to the Festival; she and her daughter have a delightful tradition of attending the Summer Solstice Celebration. Debbie attended Appalachian State University to pursue a degree in art, and then spent several years exhibiting her work in art & craft shows, before settling in to parenting. Fantasy and creativity are ingrained in Debbie’s soul.The Wizard of Oz is Debbie’s favorite movie, so she always names her dogs after its characters. Debbie embraces the saying, “She believed she could, so she did,” returning to school recently, and graduating with a degree in Interior Design. She is in the process of launching “Debbie Kennedy Designs.” Along with interior designing, Debbie enjoys event planning, dealing in vintage jewelry, volunteering as Assistant Organizer for the Triad Over 40’s Social Meetup, hearing good music, and eating chocolate. She is devoted to playing with her six pets and working to help homeless animals.
Jackie is our new intern working on this year’s solstice. She is currently a senior at UNCG, majoring in Community and Therapeutic Recreation. Born and raised in Raleigh, NC, she so far has worked in various parks and recreation departments and she hopes to one day become an event planner herself. Jackie is a lover of animals and you can find her volunteering at the SPCA of Wake County, going on hikes, reading, and hanging out with her friends and family. Jackie’s number one philosophy in life is to keep a positive attitude and a smile on her face. She is excited for her journey working with the Solstice Tribe as well as her future as an event planner!
Upon his arrival in the Triad 9 years ago, the Summer Solstice Celebration was one of the first events Michael attended. As soon as he stepped foot into Lindley Park he knew he had found his tribe. He has been a regular ever since. Michael decided to become a part of the magic when simply attending just wasn’t enough. Over the last few years as a volunteer he pitched in where he could. While it was his Earth based nature as a Shamanic Lightworker that drew him to the Solstice Celebration to begin with, it was his experience as a project manager that helped him identify the need for his skills at Faerie Central. Michael was also drawn by the community spirit that permeates the Solstice Celebration. It is the same energy that inspires him to facilitate the New Moon/ Full Moon Drum Circles and Spiritual Talking Circles at Ohana Arts & Healing along with the First Friday Drum Circle at Center City Park in downtown Greensboro.
Drea Parker – Ninja Parking Czar
Drea has been a participant of the Solstice for the last 8 years, either as a newbie fairy-in awe of such splendor, and all the glitter, or as a parking assistant-extraordinaire, or even as a vendor, offering reiki, integrative reflexology (cold foot rubs on an otherwise hot day),. But mostly, she has been an enthralled advocate of the Summer Solstice since the first day she stepped foot on the magickal grounds of the Greensboro Arboretum. She works for Shepherd’s Center of Winston-Salem for her day job, and moonlights as Chair of Interfaith Winston-Salem during the times of dewy-mist. This year, she will be offering her services of Ninja-Parking-Fairy, leading the troupes of vendors, volunteers, and those that dare, into their appropriate spaces to be for their fairy vehicles. 🙂 “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” ~ Buddha
Anna Lamb – Hospitality Faerie
A faerie at heart, Barbara has been drawn to the Summer Solstice Celebration at Lindley Park since its inception. Over the last few years, her interest has gone beyond attendance as she became a volunteer on a variety of levels from set-up to parking to volunteer registration. Recognizing the important part sponsors play in the celebration, this year Barbara’s energy will be directed to making sure the folks that make this event possible have the most enjoyable experience ever. However, she will excuse herself from the sponsor tent long enough to attend the drum circle.
In her own time, Barbara loves co-creating wellness as a Reiki Master, her fundraising position at UNCG, connecting with nature at the mountains or beach (or even her back yard) and attending drum circles. Most of all, she is most comfortable with her faerie dust and wings!
Vicky comes to us from Houston, Texas with years of experience in the meetings and events industry. She was involved with the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in the country, so is well prepared and looking forward to the Summer Solstice Festival. She has always had a joy for life and entrepreneurial spirit which led to purchasing a little spread in Texas and opening the “Dream Catcher Guest Ranch” where she had a menagerie of animals including long horn cattle, horses, goats, sheep, pot belly pigs, ducks, chickens, rabbits and her three Australian Shepards. It was a labor of love and she has many stories of entertaining her international guests who assumed everyone in Texas rode horses. Her passions are art, interior design and meeting new people. She knew she found her tribe when she saw the Head Faeries words to live by “If you are not living on the edge, you are taking up to much space”. Her motto has always been “If you are not living on the edge, you can’t see the view”. It was a match made in Faerie Land.
Bill Donnel- Captain of Stage Butterfly
John Paul has been playing guitar since high school. Then bass, banjo, mandolin, percussion. So many instruments, so ADD. He loves to play, sing, and write with other muse-icians. He is a confessed Creataholic. For about 20 years JP has been hearing voices in his head. They sing and play original songs. So he learned how to record them, and record others who hear such stuff in their heads, at his Steampowered Studio. Steam was a great sound effect on train songs, not so good on others. The studio now runs on electricity. Doing live sound for the Butterfly Stage at Summer Solstice the past few years gave him the idea of Butterfly Power. Very quiet, but the lovely things keep morphing. He often ponders this as he runs sound while playing his conga, thanking Sue Sassmann for the opportunity to do so.
Amber Marlowe – Captain of Stage Serenity
Atiba Berkley – Wizard of Stage Serenity
Stuart Stanley – Captain of Stage Lindley
I’m a journalist, photographer, sound engineer and musician living in Greensboro. I’ve done sound at the Blind Tiger, Guilford College, Greensboro Recording Collective, Flatiron, Green Bean, Fireflies Festival, Heavy Rebel Weekender, Dotmatrix Project, Summer Solstice and Elvisfest. My singing and bass playing can be heard on the Raving Knave’s 2011 CD “Love in the Atom Age” and Boxcar Bertha’s 2005 CD “Guilty County Stomp.” I’ve also played with Empire for Rent, Sugercoma, and D.B. Cooper and the Hijackers. I’m currently playing bass in the Grand Ole Uproar.
“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” Luckily for Carley, this was ingrained in her soul from a very young age. Glitter, Boas and Costumes…OH MY! Carley’s main role during the Solstice is acting as “Queen Butterfly” and initiating the always magical butterfly release. Fully painted by the five-time Body Painting World Champion, Scott Fray, Carley emerges as an enchanted creature frolicking with the little faeries, blowing bubbles and dancing under the moonlight. Prior to the event kick-off, Carley can be found floating from vendors to logistics to volunteer central assisting in every which way. She loves sharing the experience and is happy snap a photo with you or your kiddos to remind you of the fairytale that is the Solstice!
Sandy Blocker is the University Accompanist at Elon University who plays world percussion instruments for modern, ballet and African dance classes. His professional training in ballet when he was younger makes him very in tune, and an ideal accompanist for the dance students and professors within the dance department.
Kris Ferris – Captain of All the Music
Kris Ferris is a veteran singer/song writer with a career that has spanned over 40 years in many states throughout the southeastern US and continues today in notable venues in and around the Greensboro area. His love of music and spirit of giving back to the community led him to become part of the Solstice “family,” providing sound equipment and technician services not long after its inception. He is also currently growing his own event production business known as the Collabative. He sums his involvement this way… “I am proud to be connected with the Summer Solstice celebration and honored to work side-by-side with so many talented and dedicated people, from the artists and volunteers to the production committee. What’s not to like about being part of the best party in town?”
Married to the Head Faerie for over 35 years, Jim had no option but to join the ranks of the Solstice organizers. His attention to detail and his high level of integrity is often called upon for guidance. Jim loves to negotiate, plan and execute well laid plans and goes to great lengths to ensure that the Solstice logistics comes off smoothly year after year. His technology background and business savvy has helped move the event to new levels of success. When Jim is not pouring over Solstice details, he is on the golf course, in the pool hall, or doing projects around the homestead. He is the Wingman for the Head Faerie and the Go-To guy for everything that does not glitter.
Living Brush – Scott Fray & Madelyn Greco
Scott Fray and Madelyn Greco are a pair of US bodypainting artists, the first and only to have won five World Championship titles. The couple has appeared on air to detail their art and lives for NPR, on several shows. They have been showcased in print media or online by CNN, MSN, YahooNews, InternationalBusinessTimes.com, SportsIllustrated.com and FOX-8 NC. Fine art representation of LivingBrush’s work has been featured prominently in several internationally-published books on the subject. Scott and Madelyn’s work has gained notoriety via a variety of global trade publications, as well as numerous regional publications.
Scott Hinzman – Co-Fire Captain
Scott Hinzman began his study of flow in early 2000. Upon discovering a passion for fire, flow, and circus arts, he tirelessly trains and explores techniques and movement to further his means to express himself as an artist. He has been practicing the arts of poi, contact staff, double staff, fire eating, buugeng (s-staff), contact juggling, and acro yoga. Scott specializes in designing custom performances with both fire and LED props. He has performed at many events around NC, including the annual Greensboro Summer Solstice Festival and many others. He has taught several workshops and is currently teaching regular workshops that cater to variable levels of skill at Studio Eleve’.
Sydney Vigatov – Co-Fire Captain
Major Sponsor, African Dancer, Trash Czar, Drum Coordinator, tuna salad maker — Kathy Rooney is one of those New Orleans gals who knows how to throw and enjoy a great party. She created and has managed her business, Rolfing Associates of the Triad, for over 25 years and continues to throw herself into her passions. We are fortunate to have Kathy in our corner — multi-talented, fearless and super capable.
John Borgioni – Solstice Darling
First one on the scene and last one to leave — the Solstice Darling is probably the hardest working faerie in the tribe. Nothing stops him from jumping in and working tirelessly throughout the hottest day of the year to bring the Solstice to the masses. His connections, his generosity and willingness to tackle any problem has landed him squarely in the heartland of the Faeries. John has a sense of community and works daily to leave the world a better place. Who could ask for anything more?
One of the “Founding Faeries” who helped build the foundation of the Solstice Celebration. Since 2005, she has worked all over the board, behind the scenes and in front of the crowd — decorating, organizing and managing the plethora of details that come flying at Faerie Central. This faerie goddess has always been loyal to the cause and continues to bring beauty and magic to the Solstice.
She has the financial smarts, strong work ethic and the class to hold the title of Grand Dame. In the early years, Kenny worked hard behind the scenes to bring organization to the festival, handling copious numbers of vendors & details , streamlining processes & staying on top of the loosely constructed Solstice plan. It is because of people like Kenny that chaos became more orderly and reason was brought to bear. She would not refer to herself as a Faerie Goddess. And that’s because she is the one and only Grand Dame.