(OrganicJar) The outskirts of Santa Barbara were bumpin’ June 12th weekend when maca frenzied raw foodists congregated by the bucket loads to form the first Raw Spirit Festival of 2009. Aw, yes. It was here that I grooved to the music, jived with the raw chocolate, peeped a couple of vendors and somehow managed ringside seats to a super sloppy durian eating contest between David Wolf and Matt Monarch. Now that’s my kind of party. This was a great event and fantastic weekend, highlighted by the sweet vibe brought forth by all the loving people in attendance and some killa grub.
This year, the conscious folk behind RSF opted for three separate festivals as opposed to the one gala event that has hit Sedona, Arizona like a cyclone in years passed. Unfortunately, this may have played a part in the relatively smaller crowd- a crowd smaller than I think was anticipated by vendors. Even so, less heads proved no effect on the energy level which was high and flowin’. The campy Santa Barbara acreage (that I had no idea existed) serving as venue was a completely different scene from the lushly green golf course of Sedona’s Radisson Hotel the prior year. Mixing it up in this manner created a unique experience for RSF regulars and repeat offenders such as myself.
RSF days are packed with speakers, food demos and product vendors- a veritable playground for keeping up with the raw joneses. On the activity tip, some raw foodies get twisted in sacred yoga while others are melty with massage. Many opt to shake it, as some type of jam is usually getting pumped up at any given moment (I woke up to a guy playing the flute outside my tent one morning…). Think Burning Man, except our huge wooden man statue would have been dehydrated at 109 degrees and all his enzymes would still be intact.
All this talk about enzymes is making me hungry… let’s talk about the food! Hot damn was it good! Ok maybe the hottest it got was a piping lukewarm, but cold damn was the food good. The eclectic array of raw masterpieces being peddled spanned from Bavarian Tacos to Tiramisu to Cream of Mushroom Soup. All raw, all vegan, all bomb dot com. Some personal standouts for me were the spicy Raw Tostadas from the Synergy Chefs of Sacramento, the gorgeous Raw Beet Salads by the Juicy Ladies of Westlake Village, and the crazy delish Raw Ice Cream Sundaes from dRAW of Los Angeles. Tons of incredible food, all made with love. Sign. Me. Up.
The love was not just found in the food, it was all over the fest. Here, hugs felt like HUGS. Here, I felt the freedom to look strangers in the eye, to connect and share the sense of community surging throughout the campgrounds. It was palpable. Everyone on the same plane, moving and shaking on their own path, together. The smallest chain of events invited some of the most interesting conversations I’ve had in 2009 and with perfect strangers. Common small talk at Raw Spirit seemed to revolve more around topics similar to manifest destiny or the law of attraction and less in regards to the weather. It was a collective of open hearts, as if all egos had been checked at the door with the toaster ovens.
There are two more Raw Spirit Festival opportunities this year. You can hit the fest in Washington, DC at the end of August and in Prescott, AZ at the end of September. Whether you are raw, raw-curious, or simply interested in figuring out what I’ve been talking about, this is a festival worth checking out. At the least you’ll end up with a happy tummy and a new friend or two. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Written by Lisa Paris, a writer, nutritional counselor and raw vegan gangsta out of Portland, OR. You can check her out at www.rawbeets.com