Photo: Down to Earth Booth at the World Peace Festival

Down to Earth had a booth at the World Peace Festival, which took place last Saturday, October 2nd, on Moku Ola on the Big Island. Moku Ola, which means “Island of Life,” is better known as Coconut Island. However, Desiree Cruz, cousin of presenter Ernie Cruz Sr. and the MC of the event, noted that people were making an effort to refer to it by it’s traditional name, which keeps alive the knowledge that the island is a place of refuge and of healing.

The island was beautifully decorated with flower arrangements by members of Sokka Gakkai International, which helped plan the festival along with Hawaii County and the Hilo Downtown Improvement Association. Ms. Cruz said that she was excited by the turnout, and she hoped to make the Peace Festival an annual tradition.

Mayor Kenoi spoke about the importance of keeping the aloha spirit alive, especially in these challenging economic times. “No cost money, aloha,” he joked, flashing a shaka and a big grin to the audience.

Other presenters included noted peace activist Michael Nobel, Nayan Ghosh, the world renowned sitar player, and a number of bands and dance troupes representing different traditions in island culture. There were craft booths, yoga demonstrations, a face painter and delicious food from local restaurants.  Despite the overcast weather, spirits were high. People of all ages could be spotted dancing on the reinforced floor that was set up in front of the stage.

Anon Shine, our lovely new outreach coordinator, staffed the Down to Earth booth along with a team of volunteers. They gave away free iced yerba mate tea, chocolate earth balls and store coupons for 10% off.  In addition, they also had handouts available on the top 10 reasons to go vegetarian, and why going vegetarian is good for the environment.

Mahalo to Sokka Gakkai International, Hawaii County and the HDIA for making this event possible! Hopefully this great event becomes an annual tradition. We look forward to participating in the future!