ComFest

21.) ComFest – Columbus, June 26, 2010

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Years ago, my aunt and uncle – Columbus residents – told me that I had to go to ComFest (Community Fest) . When I asked what ComFest was, their reply was “a hippie fest.”

That was enough for me! But unfortunately, due to various conflicts, it wasn’t until this year that I got the opportunity to attend.

And, I agree. It IS a hippie fest, but it’s also so much more.

So let’s get started…

Once upon a time, in the distant past of 1972, there were some community activists who came together to create a “party with a purpose.” Through this “party,” or festival, they would try to take on political issues, eliminate prejudice and negative attitudes against those considered different, support collective activities over competition and greed, and help restore balance in the environment for our present and future. With an emphasis on community, there would be no corporate sponsorship. They would have to rely strictly on the help and support of many volunteers and local supporters.

And so the festival began, originally located at 16th Ave and Waldeck with about 2,000 attendees. Now, in 2010, there were about 70,000 attendees expected in their current location, which we owe to Lincoln Goodale.

Lincoln Goodale (1782-1868) was the first doctor to live in Columbus…

…as well as the contributor of a nice chunk of land, which later became known as…
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…Goodale Park…

…a pleasure land of hippie fun.

When I first entered ComFest, I entered an area filled with booths made up of non-profit organizations and vendors…
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…that lined the streets around Goodale Park…

……and eventually into it (check out how this dude is standing – it’s weirding me out).

Among the products being sold were…

…things from active minds and the tools to help relax them…

…products from our past and preparation for our future…

…and wrestling props – whether on the mat or between the sheets.

Booths also sold a nice collection of food…

…starting with your basic festival fare…

…from BBQ to shaved ice…

…and then onto healthier grub from broccoli burgers to baked tofu wraps.

But the biggest festival seller had to be the beer, which was sold at various tents…

…with mugs of various colors…

…all with the same catchy slogan.

Fortunately, the festival committees were well-prepared for the beer’s popularity…

…with their specialized port-o-potties where the men slipped into hallway-like urination stations. That way, they never had to put their beer down.

But beer wasn’t why the people came. They wanted music, dancing and poetry on the various stages…



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…and the people came in great numbers for that entertainment…

…grabbing sections of shaded earth under trees…

…and around the various stages.

As the music played, I walked around, stopping occasionally to take things in…
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…sometimes finding some beautiful areas in Goodale Park.

The area was massive and I often got lost. But none of that bothered me as I looked at the people who were enjoying the festival around me…

…varied in age…
…varied in sexual identity…
…varied in self-expression…
…but unified in this experience (which included sweating profusely).
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For me, it became one of the best festivals to date. And it wasn’t the beer.

Before leaving you to chew on that hippie optimism, I thought I would show you one of ComFest’s interesting side attractions.

Enjoy!

(Click photo to open in new window)
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