ComFest: Where Peace, Love and Partial Nudity Survive

The one event in Columbus, Ohio that lets me know that summer is here is ComFest. About the beginning of June, the city gets a ComFest buzz of anticipation. This is an art, music and crafts festival for anyone who has a hankering to be a bit alternative-even if during the week, a suit and a tie is the norm for day-job wear. The aim is to be peace-loving and inclusive. This is mellow with a capital M. Beer helps.

This is also a weekend when some people take their shirts off–literally. Actually, men tend to leave their shirts on; some women take them off–not most women, but a few. They paint designs on their breasts that don’t even come close to looking like shirts and walk around in various stages of perky and proud. As long as they stay within Goodale Park where the festival is held, the shirt optional status is allowed. But this is only a small part of what ComFest is about.

Most women do keep their shirts on, and most people relish that this is a place considered dog and kid friendly. To show just how friendly they are some vendors put out bowls with water and signs that say, “Drinking water for dogs.”

A COMFEST dog shot from last year by kjenkins. The dog’s name is Barley. People also have items just for kids. On Friday my son won a Max Escher art button by picking a plastic yellow duck out of a kiddy pool one vendor created just for fun. Here’s a COMFEST kid shot posted by Laura Lewis.

At one entrance you can check your bicycle for safe-keeping. There are also booths sporting information about various non-profit organizations like the Sierra Club and Central Ohioans for Peace. In the mix are crafts booths, food booths and more. If you’re looking for lawn art, earrings, and tie-dyed T-shirts, COMFEST delivers.

Just for the heck of it, there’s a car art show. This car was there last year. I remember seeing it and found the shot on Flickr, thanks to skippy13.

Okay, so it looks a little crowded. Possibly the beer tent was close by, but there’s plenty of room the spread out. This shot is by icadrew and was loaded on Flickr on Sunday. I have a feeling this was taken Saturday though. This looks more like the Saturday crowd.

I was at COMFEST Friday night and again tonight with my shirt most definitely on serving up watermelon as a fundraiser for CORVA (Central Ohio Returned Volunteers Association) . Although, it’s always fun to go to a festival, working at one has its own energy. I did have some time to take in the following two groups.

The above photo is of part of the group Spanda, a Kirtan chanting ensemble that puts their own special spin on Hindu inspired music. Not all of the group is in this picture. Rick Borgia, the guy with the guitar is one of the song writers and founders. He sent me the photo. Check the Spanda Web site for other performance dates.

Another group that blends cultures is the belly dance group Khalida Tribe. Matt Miller took this shot last year. I just saw this group again tonight. Always entertaining. The group often performs at the Ravari Room.

If you happen to be in Columbus next June, the weekend after summer begins, stop by COMFEST. You’ll never find Columbus looking quite the same the other 362 days of the year. Don’t be surprised if you see a woman without a top on with flowers painted on her chest. I warned you.