The organizer of an increasingly popular festival west of Calgary says the event is attracting those looking for something a little different.
Called Sangha, a Festival of Medicine, the event started in 2014 with roughly 100 people and has grown to more than 500, mostly through word of mouth.
Organizer Ray Hawkins says he wanted to create something that included all the best elements from festivals he’s attended around the world. That means there’s a parade, drumming, art, dance, workshops for men and women, and even a comedy show.
“If you are going to go there, you are going to see people in drum circles, you are going to see people dancing, you are going to see people dressed up in costumes, fully expressing themselves to their heart’s desire because we don’t judge,” he said.
“There’s value for everybody. If you are not into dressing up in costumes and dancing around a drum circle, you might be into sitting down and listening to the beautiful poetry of Shari D Wilson, or visiting the elders tent, or sitting in a men’s group.”
Hawkins says another aim of the festival is to be family friendly in all aspects.
“This is an intentional gathering and we go through this at opening circle, helping people to connect with this,” he said. “This is not a festival to come and get drunk. It’s not a festival to come and do substance abuse, it’s a festival to connect. Don’t get me wrong, the last couple of years at Sangha it’s been hot, and sometimes there’s really nothing better than an ice-cold beer, but we just want people to recognize and be aware there could be small eyes on them at any time and to be that good example.”
The event runs July 6-9 at Camp Jubilee in Cochrane.
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.
Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton. The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.