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SWFL Peace Day set for Sunday

By Staff | Sep 20, 2018

The 11th annual SWFL Peace Day is set for Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Alliance for the Arts Center in Fort Myers, right over the Midpoint bridge, on the corner of McGregor Boulevard and Colonial Parkway.

Formerly Peace Day in the Park, the free event is held once a year to honor the International Day of Peace (Sept. 21), and will feature live music and entertainment, family-friendly activities and local artists.

“Peace Day is all about celebrating what’s right in the world, what’s beautiful and helping those things grow here locally. Energy goes where thoughts flow and we have found by celebrating what’s right, then those very thing expands,” said Zachari VanDyne, creator and organizer of the event. “Peace Day is not an anti anything day but rather a pro-peace experience and grass roots project which has been going strong for 11 years. Starting with 300 people throughout the day the first year to what it is now and is attended by thousands through out the day. The peace spiral is growing.”

VanDyne came up with the idea after returning home from time spent living in India.

He thought to himself, “Think peace, help it grow.”

During a meditation session called, “Calling in the Angel of Peace,” he decided his purpose was to bring people together.

“While looking into this concept and doing research I found out there was, in fact, already a calendar-fixed global day of peace and an organization called ‘Peace One Day’ that has these very ideas,” he said. “Peace has to start somewhere, how about with a single day and watching it expand? That’s pretty much how this experience came about. I never knew it would turn into what it has become and what it is now. It’s been amazing to watch it grow.”

The SWFL Peace Day is pet-friendly, with lots to do for the kids.

It can also be an educational experience for those wanting to know more about “going green.”

“There are going to be many kid- and family-friendly activities, like a rock climbing wall, bounce house, face painting, all sorts of live music,” said VanDyne. “Also Family Time Music will be going on at 2:45 with a family/kid friendly sing along, sand art, crafts, painting, a since of community and unity, even a mechanical shark ride that’s going to be a lot of fun! We will be having educational talks through out the day on topics of sustainability, recycling, nature, plants, peace and about what we can each do to recognize the difference we each are making and can make. There will be something for everyone!”

There will be three music stages offering a variety of genres, featuring local deejays and musicians.

Florida Gulf Coast University students will host an “Expansion of Peace” community live art project.

Yoga, Zumba, belly dancing and meditations will also be held throughout the day.

Organizers encourage people to bring refillable cups and sustainable straws, to continue the reducing collective use of plastics.

There will even be a plant swap.

VanDyne and his partners will be collecting “Peace Blood” donations, as well as food and supply donations, going to the Cape Coral Caring Center, ACT: Abuse Counseling Treatment Center shelter and pet food and supplies to the Gulf Coast Humane Society.

“The SWFL Peace Day celebration is living proof that there is, indeed, a benefit to celebrating what’s RIGHT! This local grassroots project puts these questions to the test! Now entering the second decade of annual Peace Day celebrations, they have found that Peace is Growing right here in Southwest Florida!” VanDyne said. “They have established an arena where people can come together to answer these questions for themselves. That maybe there’s a reason for all this confusion, questioning, and essentially the ‘wrecking ball’ that is happening around us… and what that means for us as citizens, and human beings sharing a planet. Change happens once we see and claim our truth and inherent human rights, the power of freedom and action, enjoyment, understanding peace within all of its many facets, and being that very instrument for the benefit of all beings, including ourselves.”

Those interested in being a vendor for the event should call 239-208-9872 or email SWFL4PEACE@email.com as soon as possible.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj