COLUMBIA — An international event that has been occurring since 1997 is about to kick off in Columbia for the fourth time.
Earthdance International, a festival dedicated to world unification, peace, sustainability and social justice, will be celebrated globally on Sept. 24. A world-synchronized peace prayer is scheduled for 6 p.m. local time.
More than 50 countries and 300 locations will participate. Columbia, the only hosting venue in Missouri, has planned its event from 1 to 10 p.m. on Sept. 24 in the Courtyard Square in The District. Dancers, poets and musicians will perform.
Tamera Gonzalez, producer and director of Earthdance Columbia, said the festival theme changes every year. This year it is “Celebrating the Forests,” in conjunction with the 2011 United Nations theme, “International Year of Forests.”
“This year’s theme has to do with sustainability,” Gonzalez said. “The way we use our resources and preserve our nature contribute to peace over the long run.”
This year, Earthdance Columbia chose Ann Bromstedt of Kilgore's Medical Pharmacy as the recipient of the Peace Through Community Business Award.
Gonzalez said the award recognizes Bromstedt’s dedication to the sustainable urban garden next to her business and her advocacy of urban agriculture.
“All of the vegetables produced from her garden are donated to a day care center,” Gonzalez said. “We always look for a business like this that presents a good example to the community.”
In addition, each year Earthdance selects a charity as beneficiary of the partial proceeds that the festival collects, and Mid-Missouri Peaceworks was selected this year.
Peaceworks holds a sustainable fair every year. Director Mark Haim said it is honored to be chosen and appreciate the fact that Earthdance recognized the work it is doing.
Gonzalez said she learned about Earthdance Network on its website four years ago and was attracted instantly.
“I’ve been dancing for 12 years, and I own a dance organization,” she said. “I thought this would be a really good way for me to do some volunteer work for the community and put skills that I have in creating shows, dance and music all together for a good cause and something that I believe in.”
Admission to the festival is free. In case of rain, the events will be moved to Cafe Berlin or Theatre NXS on Tenth street.
For the event schedule, go to Earthdance Columbia's website.