More than 60 people gathered Sunday at Long Branch Park in Geddes to pray for peace.
The third annual Onondaga Lake Peace Festival celebrated compassion, healing and sustaining the environment. Organizer David Yarrow said people need to follow the Peacemaker's example to make the world a better place.
As the legend goes, in ancient times the Peacemaker would arrive in a white stone boat at Onondaga Lake, according to Yarrow. The Peacemaker announced that he was a messenger sent by the creator to end wars and killing. The Peacemaker gathered the Five Nations at Onondaga Lake to bury a hatchet and to plant a tree of peace, said Yarrow.
“Onondaga Lake is one of the most sacred places in North America," Yarrow said. "It's a spiritual place. We're calling on people to pray for peace where peace was made on this lake."
The festival featured peace prayers, Reiki healing, musical entertainment and a water ceremony. Vendors sold drums, crafts and various books.
Kayti and Sean Lathrop brought their 9 four children Kaya, 7, Tierra, 5, Tupelo, 3, and Seneca, 1, to the event. The Lathrops, of Big Indian, Ulster County, have been on vacation for two weeks. They traveled to South Carolina, Virginia and Ithaca, where they saw a flier about the festival.
"We thought it would be a wonderful way to end the trip," Kayti Lathrop said. "It's a great thing for people to get together and pray for peace."
Sean Lathrop said he thought there .would be a larger crowd. However, he said the quality of people matters more than the quantity.
Nearly 500 people attended the festival last year, according to Yarrow. He said this year's lower turnout was due to the lack of publicity.
Tom MacDonald, of Ithaca, will continue his journey of peace on a canoe trip. He will leave today from Onondaga Lake and travel through Oneida Lake, Mohawk River and Hudson River. MacDonald will take the water from the festival's blessing ceremony with him. He plans to reach New York City by Sept. 21 for the International Day of Peace at the United Nations.
"To me it's a symbolic act, . . maybe it will have an effect," MacDonald said.
Ngoc Huynh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 470-2179.