The festival was created in response to the growing levels of stress, which manifest in ways that are damaging to our communities. It offered the Bay Area community an opportunity to try out a variety of positive ways to relax and rejuvenate in a festive environment.
The festival kicked off to the beat of Taiko Ren Japanese drummers. Christine Pelosi, daughter of Congresswoman Pelosi, read her mother’s message, in which she called out alignment of this festival with the spirit of San Francisco and its patron saint, Saint Francis of Assisi. The day marked the 50th anniversary of the famous “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. Rita Semel, stalwart of interfaith movement in the Bay Area, spoke on the unforgettable address by MLK. Commander Joe Garrity of San Francisco Police Dept spoke of the importance of this event to the community.
Entertainment on the main stage included performances by Bali dance troupe Gamelan Sekar Jaya, comedian Swami Beyondananda, Native American Eddie Madril, conscious musicians Naked Soul and MacClain & Cole, tabla recital by Satish Tare and group and Taiko Ren Japanese drummers. Children enjoyed the amazing feats of Red Panda Acrobat, hands-on Arts of Bali puppet making, the Native American Hoop Dance workshop, Hula hooping, the energetic “yoga for kids” led by Laxman Panthi and Peace Mural painting by Artitud. Visitors were in awe as they made their way through the yoga tent, meditation tent, qigong, Talks tent, Virtuescope, URI’s ‘Talking Back to Hate’, Metta Center, Pachamama Alliance and Falun Dafa. Many commented on the powerful energy that was tangible in the venue.
Twice during the event, all the activity came to a standstill, and everyone joined a 15-minute meditation guided from the main stage. The meditations were streamed live through the Internet to the largest online meditation gathering, Intention Call, with about 3000 people tuning in to join the thousands on-site. Sister Chandru, Vice President of the Brahma Kumaris USA, in closing remarks pointed out that “from everyone’s experience today you know that peace in possible, you just have to make time and space for it in your lives”. The expression on the faces of people was as if they found their missing piece of their peace. Visitors remarked about the purity of the intention of the festival.
Over 100 volunteers lovingly offered their time and talent with a bright smile. The Green team was tenacious about keeping this festival clean & green, which gained the accolade of the Park Supervisor “You left the park cleaner than you got it”. Even before the day was over, we got requests to host Peace in the Park in the cities of Oakland and Los Angeles. We are grateful the world is embracing this event intended to teach people to live in peace and harmony.