Celebrating 20 Years: St. Louis Pagan Picnic Reaches a Milestone
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Article ID: 15077
Age Group: Adult
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Posted: August 12th. 2012
Times Viewed: 3,868
Sponsored by: St. Louis Pagan Events, Inc.
Location: St. Louis, MO
Event Date(s): June 9 and 10, 2012
The St. Louis Pagan Picnic crossed the 20 year mark in June. It is a long stretch of time and a notable milestone for any event. It is even more impressive when you consider that it was the 20th Anniversary of one of the longest running free Pagan festivals in the country.
The Pagan Picnic started from humble beginnings as a small get together at Yarrow Coven’s Covenstead. There, a small handful of individuals congregated to celebrate their spirituality and discuss where the Pagan movement was heading. It developed from there into an old fashioned potluck picnic that gathered those of like mind together in Tower Grove Park. There was food, fellowship, and an exchange of ideas and goods. Though it was a newly established event it began to garner quite a bit of interest.
As attention increased and word spread the Pagan Picnic morphed into a way to reach out to those in the surrounding area. Not just to Witches, Wiccans and Pagans, but to those in the outlying community as well. The Pagan Picnic recruited and educated the local police force and the administration where the event is held and they have become an integral addition to the picnic’s success. St. Louis Pagan Picnic became an outreach to those with a willingness to learn about a community of people that held differing beliefs in a welcoming environment.
The Picnic is now a successful two day event that is free of charge to the over 2000 attendees each year. It is an event that relies on volunteers to manage it, run it, and provide the lectures/rituals/music. They are the soul of the event and without them running it would be impossible. All faiths are welcome to attend and participate. Open discourse is welcomed and encouraged amongst the crew, presenters, and attendees.
There have been ups and downs in the 20 years Pagan Picnic has existed. The Picnic has come close several times to having to shut down due to increasing costs but each time the people of the community has seen the value in the event and they have stepped up to continue make it happen. Picnic has also seen its share of managing groups. The torch has been passed from Yarrow Coven to CAST, and now on to St. Louis Pagan Events, Incorporated. Each time a new group was needed to take on the mammoth responsibility of managing the Picnic there was one to take up the challenge.
Though management styles may have differed all of the groups shared the vision of educating Pagans and Non-Pagans alike and have strived to continue making the Picnic a successful venture. The community and its volunteers are the backbone of the Picnic. Their dedication and donations are why it continues to exist.
The Picnic is now an integral part of the cultural identity of the area. The people of the city, particularly the surrounding neighborhoods, look forward to the event each year. They come out and participate side by side with attendees, they walk vendor row, they watch the opening ritual, and they participate in the workshops and partake in the music scene.
Each year the Picnic seeks out authors, artists, and musicians to share their crafts. The workshop and ritual presenters hail from all over the region and share their knowledge on a wide variety of subjects. Each Picnic the performers and presenters up their game and bring the best to the festival goers.
Our celebration this year included a variety of rituals. Opening ritual kickrd off the event and was conducted by Ancient Ways St. Louis. Crawanest Kindred facilitated a Blot on Saturday afternoon, followed by a Wiccaning performed by Luna Espiral. Sunday, Amber Skyspirit of Ar nDraoicht Fein, Druid Fellowship conducted a rite to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the St. Louis Pagan Picnic. Closing ritual wrapped up the weekend led by Elderwood Grove OBOD Seed Group.
Our workshops covered a variety of topics including green living, paranormal activity and investigations, and the tarot. There were topics from the Druid, Feri, and Asatru traditions as well. Our authors also graciously participated and led discussions. We had offerings from Ellen Dugan, Mickie Mueller, Janice Tremeear, Alfred Willowhawk, Terry Michael Riley, River and Joyce Higginbotham, and Ember Grant.
And what would a festival be without music? Bardic Circle showcases a variety of talent. The stage was graced by Sinfinis, Roly, Sopha Kingz, Final Veil, Sede, Ami Amore and Exotic Rhythms, Raven Wolf C. Felton Jennings III, Romani Blue, and Brian Greenway.
In honor of the occasion there was a special set of panel discussions. These discussions are designed to take a look at how far acceptance of Pagans has come in the last 20 years. There also was a discussion of the next 20 years of the St. Louis Pagan Picnic. This is an interactive conversation for the whole community!
The Picnic has grown over the years and so has its scope. What the next 20 years may have in store is yet to be determined, but there will always be individuals and groups who will step up to ensure the longevity of this festival. Not because it is a commercially viable endeavor, but because of the way it has touched each individual. It is a highly personal experience and one the Picnic Committee invites you to share.
St. Louis Pagan Picnic is proud of its origins, its accomplishments, and the community it has served over the last 20 years. The St. Louis Pagan Picnic Committee looks forward to what is still to come!
(For more information about events, please visit the St. Louis Pagan Picnic website. http://www.PaganPicnic.org)
Location: Rolla, Missouri
Author's Profile: To learn more about Charlynn - Click HERE
Bio: Charlynn Walls has written articles for Witches and Pagans Magazine, Llewellyn Worldwide, and several other publications over the last seven years. She is a member of Coven of the Silver Phoenix and Yarrow Coven. She has worked on the St. Louis Pagan Picnic committee since 2003 as the Programming Coordinator. She has also served as Co-Chair of the event. She currently lives in Mid-Missouri with her family.
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