Annual ‘Solabration’ festival celebrates community and spirituality

Participants gather for the Solabration festival in 2018 at the Bart Rea Learning Circle. (Courtesy)

Libby Hugus freely admits her reaction watching “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” the 2018 acclaimed documentary on beloved children’s TV host Fred Rogers.

“I bawled the whole time,” she said. “The whole time.”

The neighborhood Mr. Rogers created on his children’s show was one of inclusivity and kindness, and where conflicts were resolved with compassion and understanding.

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It’s the idea of a “grownup ‘Mr. Rogers Neighborhood'” that Pastor Hugus used as inspiration when she established The Table in 2015.

Hugus says The Table’s mission is to create “an inclusive spiritual community that asks good questions, seeks good answers and takes good action in the community.”

While the The Table is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church U.S.A., its congregation members range from atheists to Buddhists and everything in between.

“Our sense is that we don’t want to hold belief hostage for belonging,” said Hugus. “It’s more important that we get to belong to each other and ask the kind of questions about ourselves and our spirituality that will lead to compassion and action in the community.”

The idea behind the first Solabration during the 2017 Eclipse Festival was to celebrate community in a festival atmosphere with music, art and food.

“We were inspired by the whole experience of the eclipse, but also what happened when we gathered those people in the park for one day,” said Hugus.

With the success of the first festival, Hugus decided to make it an annual event.

The Bart Rea Learning Circle (Courtesy)

The celebration also raises funds for The Table, which according to Hugus is spent on community programs.

“Every single dollar that is raised is invested neighbor-to-neighbor through our community action throughout the year,” she said.

Some of The Table’s community parters are the Casper Art Walk, the Bart Rea Learning Circle, Immigration Alliance of Casper and Mercer Family Resource Center.

For this year’s Solabration, bestselling author and storyteller don Jose Ruiz is the featured speaker, and Colorado band Banshee Tree will perform along with local acts the Red Butte Band, Casper Kirtan and Sacred Sounds.

There will be a taco food truck and beer from Odell Brewing Company and Casper’s Gruner Brothers Brewing.

Art tents and various children’s activities with The Science Zone round out the attractions. There will also be various wellness activities such as yoga, qigong, meditation and acupuncture.

The festival starts on Friday evening, but most activities take place on Saturday afternoon at the Bart Rea Learning Circle at Amoco Park.

“It’s important to us that we become advocates for all of our neighbors,” said Hugus.

A full schedule for Solabration and options for tickets can be found at The Table’s website. Weekend and family options are available. Day passes starting at $25 for adults and $10 for children ages 5-12 can also be purchased at the event.