The Valley Reporter
Volume 21, Number 3
Thursday, June 13, 1991
Waitsfield, VT 05673-0119

Local officials undaunted by Rainbow Gathering

By Lisa Loomis

While the 10,000 to 20,000 participants in the national Rainbow Gathering may have an impact onthe Mad River Balley and nearby areas, local officials, and spokespersons are not overly concerned about the multi-day gathering in Granville, Hancock, and Rochester.

Nor dosome officials anticipate much increased summer revenue from the Rainbow Gathering.


"I don't think we should consider them a viable source of revenue for our summer economy. They may buy gas and some groceries, but they won't be major contributors to the economy," Sue Malboeuf, Chamber of Commerce, said.

"The only thing that worries me is the fact that people from the Valley may be attrcted to the Gathering and see it as a tourist attraction, especially local kids," she continued.

Warren selectman Lixi Fortna said she was "really worried" about the event at first but after making a few calls and talking to Rob Iwamoto, Rochester district ranger for the U.S. Forest Service, where the gathering will be held, she's no longer concerned.


The Rainbow Gathering south of the Valley is the national meeting of the Rainbow Family of Living Light. Each year 10,000 or more Rainbow "family members" convene in a national forest where they "generally revel in Mother Nature, enjoy the company of old and new'made friends, and spend a few days of abandonment from mainstream society," Iwamoto explained.

Right now, some three hundred Rainbow Family members are in the Granville/Rochester area, preparing the national forest area for the influx. The majority of the Rainbow Family members are expected to converge on the ara from June 29 through July 7.


Between now and June 29, the family members will be working with the U.S. Forest Service, setting up communal kitchens, camping, parking, and sanitation facilities.

David Drekter, first constable for the Town of Warren and a Washington County Sheriff's Deputy, said that the was one of many law enforcement officials attending a June 19 planning session to maintain law and order during the gathering.

The Rainbow Family, however, is reported to be a fairly peaceable clan, and Drekter said, "I'd be a lot more worried if twenty thousand Hell's Angels were having a convention there than I am about the Rainbow Ramily."

Drekter and Fortuna both had concerns about the possible impact of the Rainbow Family on the warren Fourth of July Parade and celebration. Drekter voiced concerns over logistics, parking, and emergency vehicle access, while Fortuna was worried that the Rainbow members may crash the parade in an attempt to make political statements.

"My concern was their possible impact on the parade, but Iwamoto said that they are planning a special earth celebration and sit-in on the Fourth, so he didn't think they'd come," she said.

"I think the forest service and law enforcement agencies have this well in hand, and there is no need for panic," she concluded.


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