St. Francis of Assisi was born in Italy more than 800 years ago, and his love of all creatures, joyful approach to life and unique way of following Jesus without limit or self-importance remain a wonderful example for us today. We invite you to Prairiewoods’ annual Nature Fest to walk in spirit with St. Francis on the path of peace, openness, mysticism, poverty, reverence for nature and love of animals. Join us as we honor St. Francis’s life and memory at Nature Fest on Sunday, Oct. 6, from 1–4 p.m.
Celebrate with an afternoon of live music by The Deep Dish Divas and Bob Ballantyne, ice cream, face painting by Faceworks Facepaint, games, children’s activities, family photo opportunities with your pets, cosmic walks and lots more. And for the first time, Nature Fest also will include photo opportunities with live donkeys and a Castle Bounce House for children!
This pet- and family-friendly event celebrates our human connection with Earth and the Universe. Experience Prairiewoods in its natural fall splendor and know that we are all one with the Divine Creator. You may choose to wander our prairie and woodland trails or spend some quiet time on the labyrinth. And we hope you will participate in what truly makes this celebration of St. Francis unique: the Blessing of the Animals! (All animals—whether furry, winged, scaled or finned—are welcome.) As part of the procession of animals led by ministers from the local Christian community, St. Francis will invite you to introduce your pet and share what you love about him or her. Top off the blessing by taking a “family resemblance” photo of you and your pet.
We will honor a tradition that was part of Prairiewoods’ very first Franciscan Fest in 1997: a Gift Blanket Sharing ceremony. This ceremony comes from the wisdom tradition of some Native American cultures. A blanket containing a few gifts will be spread on the ground. You are welcome to take something from the blanket or leave a gift you make or bring for others to take. These gifts may range from a poem to a small token from nature, from a song to an item you no longer need. This ceremony serves several purposes: it allows participants to become conscious about breaking habits of accumulation, teaches lessons of abundance in the world and shows that all are part of ONE family in which each has something to offer.
In addition to a leash or carrying case for your critter, you might want to bring a blanket or chair for comfortable outdoor seating. Registration is not necessary. For more information, contact Prairiewoods at 319-395-6700. We hope you will join us for this free, festive celebration of life!
Nature Fest Schedule
1:00 Welcome & Opening Introduction
1:10 Live Music by Deep Dish Divas
2:00 Storytelling by St. Francis
2:10 Procession, Introduction & Blessing of the Animals with Music by Bob Ballantyne
3:00 More Live Music by the Deep Dish Divas, Games, Face Painting and Fun