One glance at the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple takes you far away from Utah.
Although surrounded by cow pastures and Christian steeples, the Hindu temple in Spanish Fork stands as a beacon of religious and cultural diversity in Utah Valley.
Broadening the horizons of community members, showcasing the artful talents of Hindi children, and endeavoring to cultivate a warm climate of religious co-existence, the Sri Sri Radha Krishna Temple of Spanish Fork will host the seventeenth annual Llama Fest on July 16th at 6pm.
The Llama Fest got off to a rocky start. The first few years had limited participation and limited impact on local society. After attending several Llama Festivals Caru Das Adakari, the Temple Priest, felt that there were certain aspects missing. “There was no community involved, no food, and it was all about ‘my llama is better than your llama’,” he said.
Llama competitions such as grooming and racing have been supplemented with live performances and vendors. Performers for this year include Kausachun Peru, Latin Dance Heritage, and Abraxas, a Carlos Santana tribute band.
Vendors on temple property will represent communities that the llamas originate from. Each booth will offer a smattering of arts, crafts, jewelry and cuisine from a selected geographical region.
Because of fundamental Hari Krishna beliefs, all dishes served on temple grounds will be vegetarian. Animal products are seen as disrespectful if found on property. “Most people don’t even realize that the chili they are eating is vegetarian until we tell them,” said Adakari.
Keep in mind that food is not to be brought from home but must be purchased at the event. The proceeds of the event go to temple funds, supplies for the lamas, and outreaches to the community.
All people from every walk of life are invited to attend. No one is turned away due to religious subscription. In fact, it was this hope in an environment of complete tolerance and love that inspired the creation of Llama Fest seventeen years ago.
Because of this open ethnic atmosphere Llama Fest is more than a unique opportunity to learn about Hindu culture, it is a chance to gather together with a rare assortment of individuals and experience this community through a new set of eyes.
For more information on travel arrangements and parking, go here.