The theme of this year’s HOPE (Help Organize Peace Earthwide) Festival to be held on Saturday, April 26th from 11- 4 at the University of Maine’s New Balance Student Recreation and Fitness Center is looking back at twenty years of HOPE Festivals and looking forward twenty years by sharing hopes for 2034.
Mari Abercrombie, of Windover Arts Center, who has helped with the HOPE Children’s Program, has created one collage for each year using posters, photos and newspaper clippings the varied organizations, speakers and performers at HOPE Festivals over the years. The colorful exhibit, which will be displayed at this years HOPE, begins with the first festival in l995 when Helen Near was the keynote speaker urging participants to live simply so that others might simply live .Featured speakers have included Bill McKibben, Eliot Coleman, Nichols Fox, Carolyn Chute. The most well-known performer was Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary fame and David Mallet has been featured at several festivals over the years. The posters reflect how each year the festival celebrates the earth and our connections to each other with more than 60 organizations, live entertainment, a keynote speaker, an informative and fun children’s program and delicious food for sale by local vendors program.
This year’s festival will feature Sherri Mitchell, indigenous rights lawyer and activist as the keynote. The opening blessing featured Penobscot Elder, Arnie Neptune for l7 years until his passing. This year the tradition will be carried on by Gabriel Paul, Penobscot Linguist and Ceremonial Pipe Carrier. Entertainment will feature the HOPE Festival Singers, Zachary Fields’ Juggling, Devon Cole, Earthperson and poetry for people, peace and the planet. Sustainability demonstrations will share how to conserve heat with window inserts, make a solar cell phone charger and more. Children will enjoy creating hats from recycled materials, creating pine cone bird feeders trying out acro-yoga or making leaf presses or fish prints. There’s something hopeful for everyone at the free HOPE Festival which has been coordinated by the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine and sponsored by the University of Maine’s Peace & Reconciliation Studies Department and the Maine Peace Action Committee. For a schedule visit www.peacectr.org or for more information call 942-9343.