By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Over 60 organizations will come together at the 30th annual Fall Peace Festival creating a cornucopia of entertainment, information and items for holiday shoppers. The event is free and open to everyone.
The family-friendly festival will be held on Saturday, November 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Civic Center Music Hall’s “Hall of Mirrors”, 201 N. Walker, in downtown Oklahoma City.
The event is an Oklahoma City tradition, with music, dancing, food, shopping and community organizing with peace and justice always on the program.
Holiday shopping is a big draw for visitors. Tables offering fair trade and home-made goods will include organic coffee, pottery, crafts, carving and hand-made items from Africa. Local artists and craftspeople sell their art as well. Many groups offer books, calendars, t-shirts and bumper stickers furthering their mission.
All groups will provide brochures, newsletters, and membership opportunities in addition to sales items.
“Visitors will find tables and booths of local groups and organizations active in social justice, human service, human rights, environmental sustainability and peace,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, director of Oklahoma City’s Peace House, the host organization.
“The Peace Festival showcases the good efforts of private groups working in those areas,” Batchelder added.
Other festival sponsors include the Social Justice Committee of the First Unitarian Church, Bob Lemon, Oklahoma Observer, Home Creations and Kay Adair.
“Live entertainment by local musicians and fair trade goods on sale make this a popular event for supporters of human rights, social justice, environmental sustainability, and peace,” said Anne Murray, Peace House volunteer and Festival worker.
The festival will feature a diverse collection of people and interests, which will provide free informative materials, refreshments and a wide array of crafts and other items for sale.
Also available will be the creations of local artists and craftspeople, books, calendars, t-shirts and membership opportunities.
Families will find an adult-supervised children’s activity room. Activities for kids include a story quilt, floor puzzles, games, and face painting.
“The annual Peace Festival is one of the Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty’s (OK-CADP) most anticipated events for sharing information about our vital mission,” said Adam Leathers, OK-CADP spokesperson.
“This event provides us the opportunity to discuss accurate facts about issues such as how often families of murder victims request alternative punishments over death and that the death penalty does not deter violent crimes,” Leathers added.
Among OK-CADP’s materials, they will provide a flyer with “13 Reasons to Abolish the Death Penalty.”
Festival entertainment will be provided by Oklahoma musicians Steve McLinn, founder of Ojas Recording Studio and Jahruba Lambeth, world-class drumming artist.
“Visitors are inspired by the community of local groups and people making a difference in our world and right here in Oklahoma City,” Batchelder added.
The festival brings a special atmosphere of diversity and tolerance to the metro area. Cultural and spiritual traditions including Buddhist, Baha’i, Muslim, Quaker, Religions United, Unitarian Universalists and others will be represented.
Terry Dennison, Planned Parenthood of Central Oklahoma Director of Educational Services said. “We teach that sexuality is a basic, integral part of life.”
“The decisions we make every day regarding sexuality can have profound, long-lasting impacts on life planning, self-determination, and economic security.”
The Oklahoma Vegetarian Society will offer homemade snacks, lunch items and recipes and information about the benefits of a meatless, plant-based diet.
“Children need to see adults modeling activities such as the Fall Peace Festival in their community,” said Gail Sloop, art educator at Sequoyah Elementary School in Oklahoma City and regular event volunteer.
More information is available by calling the Peace House in Oklahoma City at 405-524-5577 or at www.peacehouseok.org.