by: Rita A. Leonard Two fairies pose for the camera during the “Pagan Pride Festival”, on September 18th at Oaks Amusement Park.

The 'Columbia-Willamette Pagan Pride Festival' was held on Sunday, September 18th, at Oaks Amusement Park. The event was organized by KaTerra Hazel, a local Wiccan follower who is on the board of Other Worlds of Wonder, a nonprofit organization that sponsors the local Pagan Pride program.

'The festival features a plethora of paths toward enlightenment,' she confided. 'Paganism is focused on honoring the Earth through a variety of personal polytheistic spiritual choices.' Elements of Shamanism, Druidism, Goddess worship, Wicca, Faerie, Native American, and Nature worship were represented among the 25 booths set up to help explain pagan traditions.

Some 300 visitors visited the colorful fair under tents in the South Oak Grove. Live entertainment, a harvest ritual, and nine free workshops were offered, along with vendors of related spiritual items. Donations were gathered for two charities - Esther's Pantry (a food pantry for people with HIV/AIDS), The Pongo Fund (which provides food for pets of low-income folks) - and a collection was taken of 'magical and spiritual' items to send to soldiers serving overseas.

'We've heard great comments from visitors,' said KaTerra, whose name translates to mean 'Earth's Wise Life Force'. 'Our hope was to bring together pagans from many different traditions, and to explain our various beliefs to those who are interested in alternative types of spirituality. We plan to organize a similar event here again next September.'

Vendors at the festival offered a surprising variety of products and services, including pottery, soaps, face painting, candles, photographs, masks, wands, leather and feather wear, alternative medicine, herbal teas, Life and Shamanic consultation, Tarot and Pendulum readings, flags, jewelry, polished stones, and fairy wings. Plenty of advocates were available and willing to explain their special brand of spirituality and welcome thoughtful examination of their beliefs.

And, of course, there were, as always, the carnival rides for which the nonprofit Oaks Amusement Park is famous.

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