LIFE CULTURE Peace Festival 11 

click to enlarge Jahruba, Nathaniel Batchelder, and Steve McLinn during the 2014 Peace Fest at the Civic Center Music Hall.  Jahruba and McLinn will again provide ambiance background music for 2015. - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • Jahruba, Nathaniel Batchelder, and Steve McLinn during the 2014 Peace Fest at the Civic Center Music Hall. Jahruba and McLinn will again provide ambiance background music for 2015.

Organizers of the 30th annual Fall Peace Festival shopping event invite the community to add peace, social justice and handmade soaps and candles to this season’s holiday wish lists.

“Over the years, we’ve become almost crass in telling people to bring their checkbooks and lists and do all of their holiday shopping with us,” said Nathaniel Batchelder, director of The Peace House Oklahoma City.

The idea behind the festival is to showcase more than 60 Oklahoma human rights nonprofits and give them an opportunity to earn revenue while educating guests about what they do.

“The event is a break-even event for Peace House,” Batchelder said. “We consider it a service event.”

Handicrafts, organic coffees and teas, T-shirts, woven goods from Central America, books, calendars, pottery, homemade candles and soaps, African carvings, jewelry, bumper stickers, buttons and more will be available at a variety of price points. There also will be a supervised youth craft area. Live music and entertainment is scheduled all day.

Often, Batchelder said, guests react with surprise when they first enter the festival because they aren’t aware Oklahoma is home to so many human rights and environmental groups.

The selection process begins months in advance, and Batchelder said space for vendors goes quickly. There often is a waiting list.

For many shoppers, the event has become an annual holiday tradition.

“The very first Peace Festival was held in 1985 at Christ the King Catholic Church,” Batchelder said. “We’ve been at the Hall of Mirrors for 15 years.”

Oklahoma Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty will offer T-shirts and memberships, and Oklahoma’s chapter of Sierra Club will sell books and calendars.

The Peace House is a grassroots organization run by Batchelder and a group of volunteers.

“We’ve been advocates of universal human rights, like, forever,” Batchelder said. “[The Peace House is a] grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to education and advocacy on peace issues, including social justice, human rights, civil rights, food and hunger and disease prevention. We are actively involved in opposing military actions, and we make visits to members of Congress.”

It also supports women’s issues, LGBTQ rights, the NAACP and ACLU and “closer to Earth” and urban gardening movements and opposes the death penalty.

Recently, a spin-off coalition, Americans Against the Next War, has placed billboards around the city that plead Oklahomans to “tell Congress diplomacy works.”

The Fall Peace Festival runs 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday in Meinders Hall of Mirrors at Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N. Walker Ave. Admission is free.

Print Headline: Peace sells, The community is ready for this year’s return of Fall Peace Festival.

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