By Caru Das
Preaching at the Llama Fest
Around 3,000 people attended the 13th Annual Llama Fest in Spanish Fork Utah. Below are three links to local newspaper articles on the event. Four television stations either gave pre event coverage or were present on the day.
Originally, the festival held at the Hare Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork was conceived simply as a fund raiser and community relations effort. Tongue in cheek, to prove devotees could go a whole day without proselytizing. However, visitors followed the devotees around asking so many philosophical questions they were impeded from the smooth organization of the festival.
Some years ago Jai Krishna was designated to sit on an elevated seat in the 2 floor temple room with a microphone, answering any and all questions about Krishna Consciousness. “Of course, the most commonly asked question was: “What do llamas have to do with your religion?” Once that was cleared up (“nothing”), there were hundreds of other inquiries.
The festival starts at 4 pm when the vanguard of attendees start arriving. The entertainment and llama events conclude by 9 pm. Long after the llama enthusiasts and majority of revellers have left the premises and the downstairs gift store and buffet area have gone dark, the die hard participants in the Q & A can be found up in the temple room as late as 11 pm. Jai Krishna routinely speaks to a total of 500 sincere inquirers an average of 6 - 7 straight hours, puncuating his discourses with some kirtans on the harmonium.
A gratifying number of Gitas and other small books are purchased in the gift store.
Llama Fest is a great example of “less is more.” Sometimes, when not pushing the philosophy, people fall over each other to reach out and grab it.