How to Eat Well At Festivals Without Breaking the Bank

Ah, festival season. A time of making new friends, spending time with old friends, and hitting a few workshops for entertainment, enlightenment, and education on the side.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that my body is not always happy with the old standby of no sleep, with extra caffeine and sugar on the side during these sorts of events – eating well and sleeping have become important factors in getting the most out of events.

The trouble with this, of course, is that “eating well” in the hospitality suite of most indoor events is not likely to happen, and most outdoor events don’t even have a hospitality suite. And if you’re in a hotel, the hotel restaurant is always an option….but that gets expensive. So do food vendors at outdoor events.

So, what’s a Pagan who is looking to eat real food to do?

First, you have to plan ahead. Will your residence for the next few days have a refrigerator? Microwave? Electricity? How many meals will you need? (Does that include meals on the road, which are more likely to be fast food because you’re traveling?) How much space is in your luggage?

Let’s start with breakfast. We’ve successfully taken frozen breakfast sandwiches in a cooler, and let them thaw over the course of a couple of days, which is great if you have a microwave. For those times without a microwave, I usually stick with muffins or oatmeal – coffee pots can make water hot enough for instant oats, and campfires boil water pretty quickly as well.  On more ambitious outdoor weeks, we often do eggs and biscuits (using a “Bakepacker” or similar steam cooking device).

Much of my daily lunch and dinner suggestions for these sorts of things are based on dried foods and lightweight backpacking experiences, because the last thing you want to do is spend hours cooking when you could be having fun. Besides, not only do dried foods store well and cook quickly with just boiling water, but they’re a good thing to have on hand in emergencies where you can’t get to the store.

 

A package of
The ubiquitous Mountain House freeze dried meal – usually edible, but high on sodium

While there are commercially available freeze dried meals, and the ubiquitous military surplus MRE, you’ll likely eat better making your own meals – and at a better cost too.  Interestingly, the Mormons and their penchant for keeping a year’s worth of food on hand are a great source for this sort of thing, including portioning them out into canning jars for use over the next few months. Backpacking websites are good for this sort of thing too, usually planning single-serve meals (which is not a bad thing – have a whole box of them, and let people grab their own, on their own time!)

Package of Thrive Life's Snackies - freeze dried peach slices
“Snackies” from Thrive Life are snackable dried foods, but Thrive Life has a ton of different foods, and make good pantry supplies that make a good dinner any night, even if you’re not on the road

We have a list at home, from the days when my children were often in the hospital. When someone would ask what they could do, we’d send them grocery shopping for a specific list of sandwich fixings and healthy (portable) snacks – and we’d eat that way for days in the hospital. If you’re careful not to squish your bread, you can do this for festivals too.  Pick 1-2 condiments, 1-2 lunch meats, 1-2 cheeses, and bread. Apples, oranges, and grapes don’t need a lot of handling. Pre-washed salads, single serve snacks, and cans or bottles of beverages may need a fridge or cooler, but don’t require fancy prep work.

And, as always, remember to consider bringing plates, silverware, and glasses that you’re going to wash, rather than disposables, because it’s generally better for the environment!

Michigan Pagan Fest brings the power June 22-25 2017

Diane Lonsway raises up the primal forces for Michigan Pagan Fest 2017 with her theme of “Root, Soil, and Stone” this year. The primal and elemental “materia magicka” of presenters and performers from far and wide that promise to engage, influence, and educate attendees. The woman who describes herself in words such as “laid back, humble, smart, can be funny, people-pleaser” brought home the goods with this year’s line-up.

Michigan Pagan Fest Official Banner – Event Page

Headliners include Witchdoctor Utu, Dragon Ritual Drummers, Amber K , and Azrael Arynn K. Local Headliners include teachers Lady Bona Dea  Max Maya, and Baba Ted Juaw. This festival just continues to draw so much talent that it is almost inconceivable that it has not expanded to a week. Her programming is always rock solid.

Do you wish to see for yourself? Then take a gaze upon her schedule and be amazed.

 

(Full disclosure, I will be teaching this year at this event. Honestly, I get around.)

Plenty of opportunities for self-reflection abound, as this is also a campground based festival. This means that there is always time to play, read, relax, and enjoy the social activities that the Michigan Pagan Communities offer. Secure and safe, the family feeling and good vibes permeate the entire area.

Image: Pixabay

Showers and indoor bathrooms make this a fun time, even for the novice at festival camping. Local hotels are giving a special rate for Pagan “festies”, and a staff of volunteers are there to answer questions. Diane is never far away, either, so you can also thank her for a great event in person.

Do not forget, that shopping and “ooh, shiney” is part of the experience. Vendors with wares that delight, dazzle, and inspire amusement populate the shopper’s area. The famous raffle bar rides again, as does the charity/food drive for Pagans In Need. Organizations that make a difference in the community are also slated to be in attendance. Who knows, you may find a calling to volunteer.

Food is available on site. However, you can definitely bring your own to heighten your experience….such as roasting marshmallows and having ring chants. I like Ghirardelli chocolates on mine. Just saying.

Image: Public Domain

The children will have fun at the workshops created just for them. Last year, they even had a children’s ritual. My own daughter, being the early teen Empress she is, was more fascinated with fawning over the soaps at Twisted Willow Soap Company and chasing after a passing puppy, of course.

(This was all part of a failed plot to enamor me toward dog adoption. Umm, no, allerergen level 100 here)

New this year, Blue Crow Talent joins the bill. This is the only local Pagan friendly circus in Metro Detroit. They have major chops, were founded in Detroit’s circuit, and are set to play in Las Vegas, baby! I LOVE THESE FOLKS.

(I love Las Vegas, too. But I can never tell you about it. Not even my husband can get my epic adventure there as a traveling saleswoman on vacation. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.)

 

Speaking of fiery experiences, don’t miss the Peruvian Fire Ceremony with James “TwoSnakes” Stovall.

All event goers are expected to observe proper ritual fire protocol. This means being respectful to the Fire Keepers, and to what it represents. Do NOT throw trash into the fire. I cannot stress this enough here. Use your best Pagan Manners.

In this spirit, it would also be a good time to suggest you bring your feast bundles if you have them. These are kits that you make yourself. They include a large cloth napkin, washable utensils, and bowl. This is easier on the environment than just tote, toss, and trash.

Michigan Pagan Fest is located at the Wayne County Fairgrounds. If you get lost, call (734) 697-7002.  The address is 10871 Quirk Road, Belleville, Michigan  48111.

Hope to see you there. Here is a chant for you to enjoy around those marshmallows. Remember: I love chocolate.

 

 

Moon Afrykan Aku, mother of 3, threatened with Imprisonment at the Orange Blossom KOA

Moon Afrykan Aku decided to pack up her children and follow her dreams to film her documentary Breastfeeding A Nation: The History of My Chocolate Milk” to discuss breastfeeding in the Black community. This past Thursday will most likely be the most memorable day in her year-long journey across the country that her or her children will probably never forget.

On the morning of Thursday December 8th, 2016, Moon pulled into Orange Blossom KOA in Orlando, Florida with her young children to utilize their shower facilities. Having previously called and utilized other KOA facilities, and being charged $6, she didn’t expect to be met with hostility from a place that promotes family fun!

By her own account, these are the events that took place:

My family and I have been traveling for some time. I was recently introduced to the KOA communities. I called ahead to see how much do they charge for showers. The KOAs in KY and just outside of Jacksonville charged $6 to use the showers.

We get to this KOA and they hadn’t opened yet and the box for registration didn’t have any forms to fill out. So I parked at the office which opened in 45 minutes and started to get our things together. I took my son the bathroom and I got my other children ready to use the bathroom as well.

I hear the door open and a woman started yelling at my daughter. I told her we wanted to use the showers and the laundromat. She tells me I owe her $29 for using the shower. I said but we’ve been paying $6.

She informs me she is calling the police. This woman and another guy blocked my car in while they called the police stating we stole services. After the police showed up she said she wanted the $6 for me using the shower we hadn’t used yet. Then drove off telling the police she wanted us off the her property.

This is a family friendly center? I have 3 children 1, 5 and 9 years old. How was calling the police friendly to us? If I was trying to steal a shower why would I park at the office 45 minutes before they opened?

Moon reached out to KOA’s corporate office and was met with hostility and disdain as they told her“that line was for members only” and told not to call back and hung up. I then reached out to KOA and when I explained the reason for my call was hung up on, and then the calls were forwarded to VM.

This kind of ill-treatment of patrons to establishment’s cannot and should not be tolerated. Why should anyone have to pay for services that were denied to them? We need to take a stand and demand that they issue a public apology to Moon and her Children and refund them their money! The number to the corporate office is 888-562-0000.

You can watch the ill-treatment of a mother and her young children here https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=onMynusK3J0

 

2016 Lansing Pagan Pride Day Spiritual Transformations

The folks at Lansing Pagan Pride Day sent us a great press release about their event on August 27, 2016. We are going to present it here so we can spread the word. Thank you, Tanya the PR Queen, for getting it to our writers so quickly. This is their event as a local chapter of the Pagan Pride Project.

 

The Pagan Pride Project
The Pagan Pride Project

It is with great pleasure that the Mid-Michigan Pagan Council is announcing the 2016 Lansing Pagan Pride Day Event.  The event will be filled with vendors, classes, rituals, music, kid’s activities, swag and a food tent.  The event will be held at the Valhalla Park in Holt, MI from 10am to 6pm. Free to attend which also includes classes and rituals!

Each year the Mid-Michigan Pagan Council adopts a theme that guides the climate of the event.  This year the theme is Spiritual Transformation. This theme was inspired by the Elder Futhark rune Eihwaz. Eihwaz, pounced “Yew-was”, dates back to proto Norse.  The meaning translates to “the axis or process of spiritual becoming.”   This rune indicates change, transformation, confrontation of fears and assertive powers.

As part of this theme a public ritual will be performed by the Mystics of Rhea Lur coven.  Mystics of Rhea Lur is based in Corunna – Owosso area.  They are an eclectic based coven that has been practicing for approximately ten years. The coven is non-high priest/ priestess basis and is led by two elders – Helen Griffus and Cathy McQuillin. This will be their first public ritual. This is a participatory ritual and is open to anyone.

Education will be offered through several classes throughout the day.  These classes are open to anyone seeking information, change or out of sheer curiosity.  The classes will be taught by highly-regarded Michigan pagan community members such as: Helen Griffus from the Mystics of Rhea Lur coven, Stan Nunn and Geralyn Mystic from Pagan Pathway(s) Temple in Detroit, Melissa Hill from Cedarsong Grove and LeAnn Crouch a local solitary practitioner.  These experienced teachers will provide the skills, tools and advices to achieve higher spiritual functioning.

Offering many wonderfully hand-crafted products and other goods to help create the Spiritual Transformation in your life, is our local vendors. The Lansing Pagan Pride Day open-air market vendors will offer a variety of goods that range from baked goods, oils, jewelry, altar supplies, books, divination tools to natural health and beauty products, home décor and clothing. Just some of our vendors are:

  • GothicMoms DarkCharms
  •  Cedarsong Grove
  • Living Roots Creations
  • Moonlight Magic & More
  • Tarot by Roz
  • Archaic Circle
  • The Enchanted Oak
  • Body Hart and Soul
  • Momento Mori
  • Mother Moon
  • Brady Street Bakery and Confectionery
  • Copper Bear Creations
  • Alex and Jayde Kids
  • Children’s Activities Tent.

No event would be complete without food!  Spending the entire day at this fun-filled community event will surely work up an appetite. Stop by the food court for a bit to eat.  Reasonable prices with a wide range of foods to choose from that is friendly to most diets – including homemade five-star vegan veggie burgers!

While you’re there don’t forget to pick up some swag to let everyone know that you participated in the 2016 Lansing Pagan Pride Day!  Show off your pagan pride by purchasing your very own official 2016 LPPD Spiritual Transformation tee-shirt! Shirts are available for pre-order – see the website listed for details.

And finally – stop by and say “hi” to the proud sponsors of the 2016 Lansing Pagan Pride Day: Dark Candles •. Universal Society of Ancient Ministries • Pagans In Need-Lansing.  Their generous donations helped to make this event possible.

The Mid-Michigan Pagan Council is committed to the strength and growth of our Pagan community. We value all pagans, from the individual to the family, the solitaire to the coven, and the merchant to the store owner. The Mid-Michigan Pagan Council is without tradition, as we celebrate spiritual freedom, fellowship, and personal beliefs. We support an individual’s right to believe and practice what is true and right for them. We will strive to build a strong pagan community in the Mid-Michigan area that is supportive, and a topic of pride for all persons involved.

Having attended this event once, I can honestly say that I had a really good time and highly recommend it. They have been around for a few years now, and the staff are committed and have a lot of heart. The park is spacious and there if plenty of time for learning, contemplation, and family fun.

For more information about the Lansing Pagan Pride Day, you  can contact Carrie Zay or Nichole Ellwagner at 517.402.1026 or 517.331.0771 or email info@lansingppd.org.