Toon Town's Pagan Summer Fest.
Article ID: 12382
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Ave windwalker
Posted: May 11th. 2008
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I have often been asked over the years, how the festival came to be what it is now.
It started as a daydream spoken aloud, one crisp October afternoon in 2002. I was holding in my hand a fiery red leaf that had just landed on my shoulder. Gazing up at the splendor of autumn colors in the trees I spoke the words that started it all “Saskatchewan needs a larger scale Pagan friendly festival. I have done smaller, one evening pot-luck events, I could do it.”
I can recall my husband giving me that look, the one that says I’m crazy but he’ll stand behind me because he loves me. I recall the leaf, because I took it home with me, placed it on my altar, and later made a private offering of it at the first festival.
I muttered about our provinces seasons, the fickleness of our weather, figuring that summer time would be the best, because it could be an outdoor festival, and maybe even someday become a camp out/weekend long event.
When we got home I looked at the calendar and saw that June 2003 just happened to have the summer solstice on a Saturday, a perfect day for a full day event. I looked at my husband and said in a wondering tone that the coming summer would be the perfect time to try it out. A Saturday on the day of a summer solstice, just after I felt inspired to give hosting a larger size festival a try; it just seemed to be fate. By January 2003 I was putting up posters in and around Saskatoon and Regina.
About the name: The festival first started in the city of Saskatoon, which I recalled was once nicknamed Toon Town, so it seemed appropriate and even festive to call the event something using that fun nickname. The rest of the festival name pretty well explains itself, a Pagan based summer solstice festival.
I was faced with my fair share of effort that first year, I learned that a single two or three hour pot-luck event held far less pre-planning than a full ten to twelve hour day. I stuck it out, dug into myself pretty deep, and found that there was a certain feeling of accomplishment with each hurdle I over came, that I enjoyed the effort involved. That first year early help came mainly from my husband and a few close friends, with people that attended the event itself pitching in with set up and clean up. (A theme that has been repeated every year)
It was that first year where I set the goal that our festival would always be all-inclusive. I wanted to be able to provide meals, crafts, circle dancing, drumming, and chanting. Also the idea surfaced about having guest speakers at the festival, people that could speak about any kind of topic that may be of interest to Pagans. I saw in my mind most if not all the guests doing the activities as a group, not having to pick one speaker, or craft over another because we ran two or more activities at the same time.
I can recall being on some web forums that were U.S. based, ones that even had folks from other Canadian provinces on them, that when I mentioned the idea of a Saskatchewan festival, replies were along the lines of “is there enough of a Pagan community in Saskatchewan?” or better “I didn’t think there were Pagans in your province.” Comments that only proved we needed something here.
That first year we had not picked a color, or a logo. We bought some yellow items such as tablecloths, balloons, streamers, but mostly it was random. Image wise there were suns, moons, stars and spirals on most of our posters, and on our registration packages, just no common image.
When it came time the next year to pick one image as the logo, I felt the image of the sun we now use was the most symbolic; it had eight triangular rays which to me represented the eight solar holidays, plus the fact that it was for a solstice that celebrates the sun. The colors as a Saskatchewan based event became yellow and green, which also happened to be colors associated with the summer.
We stopped hosting the festival in the city of Saskatoon after the second year, and by the fourth year we were already hosting the weekend long camp out event that was our long-term goal. By having a three-day event we are able to offer more, do more, share more, and connect more. We now even offer a merchant’s row to end the weekend with on Sunday, the only thing not included in the ticket cost.
From its first humble ten plus hour day, with two meals, one speaker, two simple crafts, a single drumming/chanting, and a few circle dances; we have grown into three days, five meals, two speakers, two involved crafts, many drumming/chants, camp fires, games, more chances to do circle dances, and casting circles as a group. Even with all that growth the festival has remained all-inclusive.
Each year has been a joy and a blessing, with many new connections formed because of the event. I get all aglow when I have new festival attendees, but nothing beats seeing our new friends return the following year! I have over the years had so many people just randomly offer their time, their voices, and their hands.
I have a deep sense of gratitude for each person who has attended, helped, spoke, and been there to offer his or her support. Without them, this festival could not happen, much less be what it has become over the years.
What is the latest milestone for this festival? We have finally formed a committee.
With that if you are interested in attending, becoming part of the committee, wish to be a speaker, and/or set up at our merchant’s row; please feel free to check us out for more information via our web site listed in the web site link. We also have a listing on this site at http://www.witchvox.com/vn/vn_detail/dt_ev.html?a=cask and id=40788
Location: Asquith, Saskatchewan
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