By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Over 60 organizations will come together on Saturday, November 11 for the 32nd annual Fall Peace Festival in downtown Oklahoma City. The free event will provide a wide array of entertainment, information and items for holiday shoppers.
The family-friendly festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Civic Center Hall of Mirrors, 201 N. Walker Avenue.
An Oklahoma City tradition, the festival features a diverse collection of people and interests. There will be plenty of free informative materials, refreshments, and a wide array of crafts and other items for sale.
“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.
Group representatives at each table will provide brochures, newsletters, and membership opportunities in addition to sales items.
Holiday shopping is a big draw for visitors. Tables offering fair trade and home-made goods will include organic coffee, pottery, crafts, carvings and hand-made items from local artists and from around the world. Other groups offer books, calendars, t-shirts and bumper stickers furthering their missions.
“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 organizer.
An adult-supervised children’s activity room will provide entertainment such as a story quilt, floor puzzles, games, and face painting.
“It’s ‘old home week,’ a day of coming together of people in Oklahoma who share the values of compassion and justice,” said Pat Hoerth, owner of Turtle Rock Farm. “It is encouraging to support one another in our work to help create the state we want to live in.”
Festival entertainment will be provided by Oklahoma musicians Steve McLinn, founder of Ojas Recording Studio and world-class drumming artist Jahruba Lambeth.
“We are reminded this year that the great social movements in American history all suffered political setbacks that called forth from advocates the serious resolve to press on in faith and conviction that it is always right to work for what is right, and to oppose what is wrong,” Batchelder said.
“Progress in social justice and human rights comes when universal values find a voice in the majority of citizens,” he added. “We march on, committed to the abolition of racism, the worst aspects of poverty and disease, the death penalty and nuclear weapons.”
Cultural and spiritual traditions including Buddhist, Baha’i, Muslim, Quaker, Religions United, Unitarian Universalists and others will be represented.
The Oklahoma Vegetarian Society will offer homemade snacks, lunch items and recipes and information about the benefits of a meatless, plant-based diet.
Gail Sloop, art educator at Sequoyah Elementary School in Oklahoma City and regular event volunteer said, “Children need to see adults modeling activities such as the Fall Peace Festival in their community.”
Based in Oklahoma City, PAMBE Ghana, a nonprofit organization founded by Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels, will offer items from its seasonal fair trade shop including pottery, baskets, clothing, and jewelry from Guatemala, Haiti, Peru, Ghana, India, and Indonesia.
“These are items you can feel good about buying,” said Linda Temple, PAMBE Ghana Global Market volunteer product coordinator. “The many products we offer are all handmade by individuals who are paid a fair wage for their work. They are beautiful and make great personal use and gift items.”
“Visitors are inspired by the community of local groups and people making a difference in our world and right here in Oklahoma City,” Batchelder said.
Sponsors include “In Memory of Bob Lemon” from the Lemon family, Home Creations, Kay Adair, David Thornton, Peter Schaffer, the Oklahoma Observer, and the Social Justice Committee of the First Unitarian Church of Oklahoma City.
More information is available by contacting the Peace House at 405-524-5577 or by visiting www.peacehouseok.org.