In the Indian tradition of Holi, “color run” participants throw dyed cornstarch in the air to create deep, variably intense hues of clouds. Asheville’s Saturday, Sept. 12, Color Faire event brings all the fun and excitement of such celebrations but without the traditional running, says organizer Wynne Paris.
Color Faire also offers participants a chance to relax and sip a hot cacao drink before plunging themselves into yoga, music, belly dancing, flow arts and healthy food options.
“Traditionally, this type of color festival was performed in India in the spring season,” says Paris, a nationally renowned yoga and yoga music pioneer who has practiced and played in Asheville. “It’s a giant cultural event and symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.”
As music plays, fairgoers can play around with the colored powder or propel it into the air during the hourly throws, he explains. The combined effect of food, music, color and the spiritual nature of gathering together have intensely joyous results, says Paris.
“This elicits happiness. People are streaming into light. It’s a neurological effect, the vividness of it. It makes people happy,” he says. “We’re looking to make a moment of bliss. We’re still exploring the effect of color on people, but it’s really fascinating.”
At the opening ceremony, Paris adds, Asheville’s own Dr. Cacao’s Medicine of the Heart will provide the ceremonial drink, an integral part of the event. A traditional hot chocolate beverage can elevate moods, increase blood flow to the brain and heart, nourish the body at a deep level and overall intensify senses to go along with the bright colors, says JoJo Silverman, who founded Dr. Cacao’s with partner Binah Crabtree.
“Cacao goes well with a playful, high-energy activity,” says Silverman. “We’ll be using awareness to help elevate the experience. This is not mind-altering, but it enhances one’s experience.”
The Color Faire cacao will be a ceremonial grade from Guatemala — not the run-of-the-mill concoction.
“This is a superfood,” Silverman says. “It’s chock-full of minerals and vitamins, and bitter in its pure form. We sweeten it with stevia or honey and add natural flavors. It’s very tasty and enjoyable.”
Paris, who will also emcee the event, says a supershot of cacao fits right in with Asheville’s holistic, natural energy, as well as its playful side. In the last 10 years, he has toured the country with his band Grooveananda and participated in more than 1,500 kirtan music festivals. Though he currently lives in Annapolis, Md., Paris calls Asheville “the grooviest of East Coast places.” He wanted to bring a color festival to town ever since attending events out west, he says.
“This event is really right for Asheville,” says Paris, who thought up the idea after realizing that many local kirtan and spiritual musicians had a clear schedule at the same time.
“Eighty percent of the kirtan groups in Asheville were available, so I invited everyone I had jammed with before. This is about getting people together and having a party in a field,” he says.
Performing musically will be Luna Ray, Sangita Devi, Namanada and more. Local instructor Sierra Hollister headlines the yoga, and Asheville food truck Smashbox will join a local artisans marketplace.
“The artists are pleasantly excited about it,” says Paris, who hints at a future fair. “We’d like to come out in the spring and do it again.”
Noon-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12
Rainbow Community School,
574 Haywood Road, West Asheville
$10 at brownpapertickets.com or $15 the day of the event
WHAT TO BRING
A white T-shirt and sunglasses
The dye washes out, but it’s colorful and gets everywhere.