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Arnold Kauffman pats Itsy Sweeney on the back at Banana Fest

Arnold’s Way–Fruit-Powered Fruitastic Gatherings

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Throw Fruit Gatherings in Your Town or City!

For a couple of months, I asked Arnold Kauffman about having a small spring gathering on Memorial Day weekend and a large festival shortly after The Woodstock Fruit Festival at his Lansdale, Pennsylvania, raw food café, Arnold’s Way. He fretted over “gray hairs” caused by hosting Raw Experience festivals, which generally include 10 to 15 combined raw food talks and demonstrations. All this means a lot of work in securing commitments, locations and timetables, let alone promoting the events and selling tickets while running the café seven days a week.

And then a visit from a friend inspired Kauffman to have a free meetup in a Lansdale park—and this we did Sunday, May 24, from 2 to 8 p.m. in Whites Road Park. Anyone who attended Banana Fest would tell you it was a magical afternoon and evening with picture-perfect, 80-degree weather. About 50 popped by over the course of the day, with many staying several hours, giving Banana Fest as many as 40 on hand at its peak. Kauffman; John Fallucca; Betty Korba; Cassandra Kutner and her husband, Adam, and their daughter, Emma; Dan McGrogan; Itsy Sweeney; and many others turned out.  The crowd was large enough to lead to several hours of stirring conversation and small enough to ensure you got to talk to everyone. Footballs were tossed—some real cannons for arms out there!—and a spirited, loose wiffle ball game in which no one kept score or inning count stretched on well past 90 minutes.

Dan McGrogan and Betty Korba chat at Banana Fest
Dan McGrogan, owner of Nucleus Raw Foods in Luzerne, Pennsylvania, chats with Arnold’s Way regular Betty Korba at Banana Fest.

It was free to attend Banana Fest, and there were no speakers or agenda. The only guidance was for folks to bring bananas to eat—and hundreds were enjoyed! Whoever ate the most would win free 16-ounce Banana Whips at Arnold’s Way every day for a year. Bill Salamone took this prize. It was a no-frills, do-as-you-please gathering. I think raw fooders should be having these kinds of fruit gatherings all over the country!

Bill Salamone rides his stationary bike at Banana Fest
Bill Salamone ate 35 bananas over the six-hour Banana Fest, making for a remarkable clip of a banana every 10 minutes. He also rode his stationary bike about 25 miles. Posing with Corey Ciaverelli, Salamone won a free Banana Whip at Arnold’s Way every day for a year.

Shortly after Banana Fest wrapped up, I asked Kauffman whether we could join forces to promote similar events, not limited to banana eating, the first Sunday of each month from May through September, the five warm-weather months in Greater Philadelphia. He green-lighted this idea, and the name Arnold’s Way–Fruit-Powered Fruitastic Gatherings was born May 27 after 90 seconds of heavy deliberation in the Arnold’s Way kitchen. Bring your own fruit and, if you’d like to, some extra fruit for others. Frisbees make for fun times, too!

Join Us at Arnold’s Way–Fruit-Powered Fruitastic Gatherings

  • Dates: June 7, July 5, August 2 and September 6 (no rain dates)
  • Time: 3 to 8 p.m.
  • Location: Whites Road Park in Lansdale, Pennsylvania
  • Admission: Free

A special gathering will take place Saturday, August 29, from 3 to 8 p.m. to attract Woodstock Fruit Festival attendees.

View a Gallery of Photos from Banana Fest

If you want your community and the whole world to enjoy more fruit for their health, other creatures and the environment, organize a few fruit gatherings where you live this spring and summer. All it takes is several folks having an outing in a park to enjoy one another’s company, brainstorm ideas for other events and creative outlets and help a raw food diet gain momentum among the masses.

In fall 2013, I wrote a valentine of a story about Arnold’s Way potlucks, lighting rods of connectivity for people on the raw food path to become inspired and learn. I’m very excited to help build on the potluck premise and help lead gatherings in a beautiful park with fledgling and longtime raw fooders as well as those curious about this fruit-based diet.

I hope to see some of you at our Fruitastic Gatherings! 🙂

Watch a Fruit-Powered Video on Banana Fest

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