Around 80 people gathered at City Hall Park on Saturday to drum, dance and pray as part of Earthdance 2009.
In its fifth year in Red Deer, the event raises awareness about peace, diversity and the environment.
Audience members danced along with the Red Deer Aboriginal Dance Troupe during a round dance in front of City Hall. Then the Polynesian Heritage Society’s Mahana Polynesian Dancers showcased their brightly-coloured outfits and rhythmic moves.
Nearly everyone joined in a large drum circle lead by Tanya Schur, with Drumocracy, that had people beating different rhythms on a variety of hand drums.
“Earthdance is really about celebrating green space. It’s about celebrating the earth and the planet and the people and the way we live together on it,” said Schur, who also helped organize Earthdance in Red Deer.
At 4:55 p.m., just before a prayer was about to start the sky darkened and rain poured down.
Everyone moved into the library’s Snell Auditorium to finish off with the global prayer for peace, with children performing a dance and immigrant youth and others involved with the Central Alberta Refugee Effort saying a prayer in many different languages.
Glynis Wilson Boultbee, who is another organizer, said Earthdance is important because a lot of people feel strongly about people, peace and the planet. She said the event brings business people, environmentalists and artists together as a community.
“We as a community are joining together with communities all over the world. That is a powerful concept for me,” Wilson Boultbee said.
Earthdance is celebrated simultaneously around the world, with more than 300 communities all saying the prayer at once.
“One of the most important things to me is that this is about hope. Given the news right now and what is going on in the world it is important for us to be concerned about the world and have hope for the world. It is an important thing for the community to experience together,” Wilson Boultbee said.
As part of Earthdance an open mic was held at the Hub, a story time took place at the Red Deer Public Library and a fundraiser was held at the Far Side Lounge, which featured Night at the Chelsea, Ranger Danger and the Danger Rangers and the Rockabilly Roots Revue. This year’s theme was bless the children and any money raised during the event will go to the Central Alberta Refugee Efforts’ immigrant youth group.
Since it began in 1997, the global event has occurred in more than 500 locations in 80 countries around the world.