Family Fun Open Day

“Family Fun Open Day” 

Report by Radha Govinda das

It was the first day of July this year, but it was a chilly morning. It would gradually warm-up as the day progressed, but for the moment nothing could be said. The devotees had been preparing for this day for months. Almost 10,000 flyers had been distributed, the newspapers had been reporting about it, shops and restaurants had been displaying posters announcing the event. Tents were up with bright banners identifying them, food was ready to be served, artists had arrived with ambitious motives, and volunteers took their positions. Now it was time to wait – till the clock hit eleven.

It didn’t take long for visitors to start trickling in. The Open Day had always been one of the most exciting events for newcomers to Bhaktivedanta Manor. In the past, there had been Strawberry Open days, Cow athletics Open days and Theatre Open days. The legacy continued, and for at least four years now, the Manor had been organising the Family Fun Open day.

“I come to this one every year” said Helen “It’s a fun day for the whole family and my kids look forward to it every single time” as she then walked off to Try on a Sari. The two kids ran off to have a go on the bouncy castle.

The Open day featured a variety of activities for everyone. There was a food stall selling many varieties of Indian snacks, offered to the most attractive Lord Krishna. Curious visitors could also find out more about their future at the Palmistry stall. Then there was a Henna tent for ladies to try out various designs made with the soothing traditional herb, used for centuries by brides in India to decorate themselves. There was also a Face Painting tent and a shop selling fresh organic vegetables. Many received Ox-cart rides to the cow protection centre where they were told about the importance of cows and oxen in society and how they should be protected. Guests also got a tour of the Manor and learnt about the history of the Hare Krishna movement and the precious contribution that Srila Prabhupada had made to the world.

While all this was going on, a group of monks spoke to people who were interested in Krishna consciousness, and many young boys and girls signed up for the “Be A Monk Challenge”, a one week course promoting spiritual living. And all along, young devotees sat on the lawn singing kirtan. It was a wonderful sight, and an effort well worth it.

The day attracted over 1000 people, about half of them who were coming for the first time. Many people signed up to the events and courses that were on offer in the forthcoming weeks including cooking retreats, Kirtan and Mind Body Soul events organised by the Krishna Wisdom team – the same team that organised the Open day.

A big success, but not without the help of the amazing community of devotees that make Bhaktivedanta Manor what it is today.

As time will tell in days, weeks, and years to come, many of these visitors will come more often and relish the tranquillity the manor has to offer. Some will become friends of the manor and regularly come to events. A few will even slowly take to Krishna Consciousness and progress towards a more committed future on their spiritual journey that the movement has to offer. We know this because it has already transpired in the past. History always repeats itself where a pure devotee like Srila Prabhupada has planted the seeds of devotion and the community of devotees regularly water them with their dedication to service.

Published onTuesday, July 25th, 2017

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