Festival goers gather in Maryland for spirituality, yoga, unique souvenirs

By Katie Keogh
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer

KarmaFest “Unity” The BIG Show came to Baltimore County last weekend. The eight-year-festival is home to live bands, 150 vendors and over 50 different workshops and lectures.

The annual festival took place on May 13 and 14 at the Oregon Ridge Park in Hunt Valley. The festival is the largest one organized by KarmaFest, which holds seven festivals throughout the year.

Patricia Hawse, who created KarmaFest in 2005, organizes the festival. Hawse also owns a permanent location called KarmaFest Trading Post in Hampstead, where many of the unique decorations at the festival are sold. Some of the other events the company hosts include a trip to the Bahamas to swim with dolphins and a Virginia Beach retreat.

“KarmaFest is one of my favorites,” said Kristen Hemp, one of the vendors at the festival who sells unique handmade jewelry, clothing, and decorations. “I travel from about two hours in Pennsylvania and Maryland is usually the farthest I go. This is my fourth or fifth year at KarmaFest and we have local vendors who make a lot of the stuff I’m selling. I make the wire trees.”

Hemp’s wire trees are a hand-made decoration that she creates. Hemp has been selling these wire trees since her first year at KarmaFest.

Wire trees made by Kristen Hemp at KarmaFest. Photo by Katie Keogh

Wire trees made by Kristen Hemp at KarmaFest. Photo by Katie Keogh

Many of the vendors at KarmaFest “Unity” sell hand-made jewelry and clothing, including Lisa Gravely, who owns a company called Moon & Sea Creations.

Moon & Sea Creations attends festivals in the Maryland area to sell its hand-made jewelry and offers to customize jewelry based off of specific requests from customers, Gravely said. Gravely was at the festival selling hand-made hair flowers, sun-catchers and hand-knit gloves.

KarmaFest “Unity” also has vendors who sell essential oils that are used for aromatherapy, a process of using oils from plants to enhance mental and physical well-being. Some of the vendors hosted workshops on how to start using essential oils and how to get the maximum benefit from the process.

“This is my second year at KarmaFest,” said Tara Costello, a student at Towson University and a customer at KarmaFest. “I saw it online last year and decided to come but I ended up buying like $50 of clothes and lavender oil and eucalyptus oil so I only brought $20 to spend this year.”

Lynn Rene MacDonald hosted “Spiritual Abundance” at the festival, a workshop that consisted of MacDonald coaching her audience on how to become more intuitive and spiritually in-touch.

“I just like to tell people that they aren’t responsible for other people’s stuff and to clear stuff out of your soul that isn’t serving you,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald traveled from Virginia, where she works on a mission called Project Bring Me 2 Life. The project’s mission is to “awaken humanity to spirituality and higher consciousness as well as promote global equality, unity, peace and love,” according to its website.

MacDonald’s hour-long workshop attracted over 20 people, where she informed her audience that she does her work in person, over the phone, and via Skype.

“I have no boundaries,” MacDonald said. “I travel as far as my car will take me, so mostly up and down the East Coast.”

Other workshops at the festival included belly-dancing lessons, harmonium lessons and psychic readings.

“I bought a two-day pass because I didn’t think I’d be able to do everything I wanted in one day,” Costello said. “Today [Saturday] there is an essential oils workshop that I really wanted to do and then tomorrow there is a meditation workshop that I wanted to do too.”

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