By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
Over 60 organizations will come together on Saturday, November 12 during the 31st annual Fall Peace Festival in downtown Oklahoma City. The event, which is free and open to the pubic, will provide a cornucopia of entertainment, information and items for holiday shoppers.
The family-friendly festival will be held, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., in the Hall of Mirrors, located at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker.
An Oklahoma City tradition, the festival will feature 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, carving and hand-made items from around the world. Local artists and craftspeople sell their art as well. Other groups offer books, calendars, t-shirts and bumper stickers furthering their mission.
Festival sponsors include the Social Justice Committee of the First Unitarian Church, Oklahoma City activist Bob Lemon, the 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 organizer.
Families will find an adult-supervised children’s activity room, which will provide activities for kids including 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.
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.
Longtime participant of the Peace Festival, Terry Dennison, Planned Parenthood Great Plains 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.
Based in Oklahoma City, PAMBE Ghana, a nonprofit organization founded by Alice Azumi Iddi-Gubbels, will offer items from its seasonal fair trade shop such as pottery, baskets, clothing, and jewelry from countries including 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.”
Gail Sloop, art educator at John Marshall Middle 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.”
“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.
More information is available by contacting the Peace House at 405-524-5577 or by visiting www.peacehouseok.org.