“Mother I feel you under my feet, mother I feel your heart beat,” chanted dozens of women to the beating of drums at the closing ceremony of the inaugural Saratoga Women’s Fest.
The event was three weeks long and designed to empower local women while helping them achieve a new level of “self-actualization.” It also celebrated the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, which is observed on March 8.
“I couldn’t let it pass by without doing something,” said event founder Sierra Sullivan of Saratoga Springs.
The festival consisted of film screenings, women’s history and health lectures, workshops, music and art. Hundreds of women attended the 23 activities that spanned the three weeks, said Sullivan, who organized the celebration with about 30 other women. The events were geared toward promoting “life-balance and self-love.”
Sullivan ran her own woman-centric magazine and was involved with the women’s movement in Los Angeles before moving to Saratoga Springs. She began a woman’s circle and met others through her work as a life coach. She eventually decided to continue the mission she began in Los Angeles to help women in upstate New York.
“This is our collective vision,” she said at the closing ceremony. “The more we work together, the bigger it can be.”
All of the women involved hope next year’s event will be much larger.
Sullivan exclaimed, “I want it to become a citywide celebration, like First Night for women.”
Organizer Lin Murphy was pleased with the turnout, explaining how the event went beyond most of the organizers’ expectations. The event was put together in only a few months.
She hoped the event would bring more local attention in the future to International Women’s Day .
“It’s celebrated at length in Europe, but a lot of people don’t know about it here,” she said.
March is observed as National Women’s History Month in the United States.
Shari Parslow, a shaman and massage therapist from Ballston Spa, said she walked away from the event inspired.
“I now have a far deeper connection to my community,” she said. “I was grateful for the opportunity to share my gifts and deeply blessed to receive from my sisters and friends.”
The celebration closed just as it opened — with a Native American Four Corners ceremony and songs officiated by Zelda Hotaling of Castleton-on-Hudson. The opening ceremony acted as a blessing over the event and the closing released the event’s energy into the hearts of each woman in attendance, she said.
“It’s a bonding moment, something to link us,” Hotaling explained of the tradition.
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Categories: Schenectady County