The Crestone Eagle • June, 2021

Crestone Energy Fair

The ceremony, inside the ceremony, inside the ceremony, inside . . .


by Kleo Belay

There’s nothing like a pandemic to challenge the structures of a society.  A near-apocalypse illuminates those pieces of humanity with resilience and infrastructure to survive catastrophic shifts and hardships.  And, there’s nothing like a festival to ceremoniously inspire the creation of  dynamic revolutionary communities.  For over 30 years the Crestone Energy Fair has been a catalyst for the building of a vanguard community in the international movement towards sustainability and security, safely surviving the COVID era.

It began as Crestone’s Alternative Energy Fair, but early organizers changed it to just Energy Fair, as “there is no alternative.”   Those facilitators and organizers who through the years have worked to actualize the Fair are a community unto themselves.  One current organizer identifies past and present leadership as part of “a phenomenon” that seemingly takes on a life of it’s own.

Crestone has a long history with such phenomena.  Long known as The Bloodless Valley among the earliest indigenous societies, a neutral place among tribes where war and fighting could not occur.  A place reserved and revered for ceremony.  The ceremony and living philosophy of such sacred places serve to digest the challenges of life, attempt to heal them, and move into the future with vision.

The spirit of healing and vision has persevered as the Manitou Foundation and spiritual centers continue to build a foundation for ceremony, sustainability, and collective spiritual growth.  However, it’s the Energy Fair which may have the greatest practical impact on creating the physical and sustainable resilience found in the community. In a time of lockdowns and economic upheaval, the essence of true security becomes apparent.

One key to surviving a pandemic or any impending apocalypse is a comfortable home, with all the necessaries of food, water, and shelter.  An important element of the Energy Fair through the years is the home tour.  The resources, technologies, natural building techniques, and multitude of sustainable approaches toward building presented and discussed at the Energy Fair has inspired the construction of many off-grid homes in the community.  These tours present living models of sustainability, energy and food security.

Preparedness for an uncertain future can be defined by access to reliable food sources, clean water, adequate shelter, a dependable energy supply, and a healthy environment both socially and physically. These topics and their practical application have been the focus of the Energy Fair for over 30 years, one of few gatherings to safely survive COVID.  This year’s theme is “Reconnect—Self, Village, Nature” and takes place August 28-29.  The ancient tradition of ceremony is alive in Crestone.

“The greatness of a culture can be found in its festivals” ­—Siddharth Katragadda.

The community formed around the Energy Fair extends far beyond the days of gathering.  The group of organizers and volunteers involved with the Fair meet regularly, facilitating an ongoing network of support, applying sustainable concepts in addressing community needs.  The sustainable and off-grid models found in Crestone are a part of a world-wide movement with the potential to manifest a reality of humanity in harmony with Earth.  A vision put forth by the ancestors of the land.  A vision unrelenting in power and force.

Kleo Belay is a wilderness guide and freelance writer with a focus on sustainability and off-grid living.  She has travelled extensively through India, southeast Asia, North and South America in search of both ancient and modern self-sufficient communities.