Guest comment: Convening for Paradise, in Paradise

Regenerating Paradise presents its annual Paradise Revival Festival Nov. 5 at Terry Ashe Recreation Center

In the immediate wake of the Camp Fire, there was great need for the residents of the Ridge to gather. But with so much of Paradise destroyed, there were few opportunities to do so. Town Council meetings saw immense participation, with so many folks lined up to condense their experiences into three allotted minutes.

It was clear we needed more time together; a space to grieve, reminisce, check in on each other and share resources and ideas. By rekindling the social bonds of our community, we could take agency in our own recovery.

A group of Paradise locals rented the Terry Ashe Recreation Center in December 2018, a month after the fire. We felt it was important to gather as the community of Paradise, in Paradise. Even with short notice, more than 120 people attended. Six months later, this core coalesced into a group called Regenerating Paradise. One of our primary goals is to host gatherings for the Ridge community to reweave of our social fabric.

As our largest annual event—held each year near the fire’s Nov. 8 anniversary—the Paradise Revival Festival aims to create a space for the community to acknowledge our shared loss and honor our journey of recovery. For folks curious about been happening in Paradise, the event is a great way to make it visible that Paradise is recovering.

This year’s event happens Saturday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., at the Terry Ashe Recreation Center and will feature live music; theater; dancing; arts displays and workshops; guest speakers on wildfire- and recovery-related topics; a meal prepared by World Central Kitchen, and more. Entry is free.

For more on the event and on Regenerating Paradise, visit regeneratingparadise.org.

Allen Myers is a third generation member of the Paradise community, a filmmaker and co-founder of Regenerating Paradise.

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