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One Year: Thomas Fire Remembrance Dec. 1

November 29, 2018

Rain at Thanksgiving brought an end to one fear — fire — and raises another — floods.

Or more specifically, debris flows like the one which killed dozens in Montecito now threaten Malibu as well as the other areas hit by the Thomas Fire which struck Ventura and Santa Barbara counties almost one year ago. As I’ve discussed numerous times over the past year on this blog, climate change aka global warming is one of the reasons we’ve had such devastating drought followed by fire; I’ll be exploring this theme more with more discussion of the recently released Climate Assessment Report.

With this anniversary comes the Thomas Fire 1-Year Remembrance Event on Saturday, December 1st, 2018 with a free “Togetherness Village” from 11:00am – 6:00pm, food and drinks from 12:30 – 7:00pm, and a ticketed concert with headliners — and Ventura locals — Big Bad VooDoo Daddy from 145-7p all held at Ojai’s historic Libbey Bowl, 210 S. Signal St, Ojai, CA 93023. 

In this day of remembrance, join us for music, arts and activities as we celebrate our perseverance, community, and continued recovery with various Ventura County help and assistance agencies hosting.

From 11-6pm, organizers say that Libbey Park “will be transformed into a FREE Togetherness Village, offering an Art & Makers Market, book signings, food trucks and numerous fun community activities. There will also be fire support and recovery resources from throughout Ventura County to provide information on help offerings available to those affected by the fires. Members of the Ventura County arts community will host booths, creating a great way to support artists who were affected by the fire and to kick off your holiday shopping. Join us for community drumming, juggling, art-making, crafts, service dog-petting, reflecting or just relaxing in the park.”

I will be involved by facilitating “Story Circles” which are part of a national ANNUAL CIVIC RITUAL AND PARTICIPATORY ART PROJECT called the PEOPLE”S STATE OF THE UNION  –

In our story circles, we will share stories about how fire transforms everything it touches. We invite you to join a circle of 6-8 people to share story about how the fire touched you or your sense of community. As you think about a story you want to share, remember that:

  1. A story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. This isn’t a time to offer opinions or commentary, but to share something you experienced or observed.

  2. Listening is as important as speaking; each person receives full attention while telling his or her story. It isn’t about performance: the idea is to listen for the essence of what is being shared, however the storyteller wants to tell it.

  3. There are absolutely no questions, criticisms, cross-talk, or comments on any story while sharing is going on. We receive eachother story

  4. Don’t worry about preparing the best story- give your full attention to other storytellers. Don’t make notes. I guarantee that stories will arise in your mind, and you will have one to tell when the time comes. Just focus on listening and the rest will take care of itself.

In a story circle, attention passes around the circle in either direction. You can pass, and will be given another opportunity to tell a story at the end of the circle. If someone declines, that’s fine. Don’t insist. We thank each storyteller and take a breath between stories to let them sink in before the next story comes.

At the end, we will take a few minutes to reflect together on what was revealed by all of the stories. Were there common themes? Notable differences? What stood out for you, if anything? What touched you, if anything? What feelings and ideas were sparked?

The concert features the roots-rocking Charles Law Band, blues virtuoso Guy Martin, folk contemporaries Todd Hannigan and Sleeping Chief and the swinging sounds of the one and only Big Bad Voodoo Daddy!

Organizers say: “Come be a part of this community group hug and let Thomas Fire survivors know that we are here for them and that we can get through this together. We want all those affected by the Thomas Fire to know that we are all here standing together to help as we continue to heal and work toward recovery. We hope that everyone will join us for a day of remembrance, music and community support.

Date: Saturday Dec 1st
Location: Libbey Bowl, 210 S. Signal St, Ojai, CA 93023
Togetherness Village: 11:00am – 6:00pm
Concert, food and drinks: 12:30 – 7:00pm
Get your tickets at

The event’s goal is not fundraising but to offer information and outreach for all those affected by the Thomas fire and our community. Profits from the event will go to Help of Ojai’s fire relief fund and Local Love Projects fire relief fund.

While the booth and vendor area at Togetherness Village in Libbey Park will be free to the community, tickets are required for the music portion of the event with proceeds from the event going to Help of Ojai’s fire relief fund and The Local Love Project‘s fire relief fund.

NOTE: Thomas Fire and Montecito mudslide survivors will be gifted free entrance into all areas of the event. Thomas Fire survivors will need to bring proof of their affected residence along with a picture ID to receive access to the music portion of the event (as capacity allows).

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