Have you wondered how many people have actually arrived in the Tri-Cities for the Rainbow Gathering 2012? This morning’s official count provided by InciWeb:
As of 9 a.m. on July 1, 2012, there are approximately 5,335 gatherers, 1,450 vehicles, and 26 buses at the event.
InciWeb is an interagency webpage which appears to be mainly concerned with events within the National Forest System. There is a lot of good information here along with the daily report of how many “hippies” have arrived.
Tri-Cities residents have begun to encounter people coming through town to the event being held this week near South Holston Lake in the Cherokee National Forest. The remark overheard most often by local people is how horrible these folks smell. One young lady described the smell as so intense that even when the dreadlock-wearing visitor was on the other end of the store aisle, the stench literally triggered her gag impulse.
The trend of wearing dreadlocks seems to be a big part of the Rainbow lifestyle. Although many people purposely cause their hair to form the matted clumps, lack of washing, combing, or general human cleanliness results in the matted state. It is the same matted mess that we clip off of our dogs around here, usually populated by insects or pests.
Rainbow Gathering may be a place of love and friendship, but some locals have not felt quite so loved by the visitors. The various unofficial online communications seem to indicate a general ill feeling to law enforcement agents and locals who might question their right to do whatever they want in our community without any question.
While the Tri-Cities area is generally a Southern Bible Belt area, the unusual and sometimes pagan culture of these gatherings is not what draws the consternation of the locals. It is common sense that people expect others to do the minimum in personal hygiene. When approached by stinky Rainbow panhandlers, most residents will feel threatened and negative about the whole movement.
This may be an unfair characterization of the Rainbow Gathering, but like the Tea Party Movement, their loose structure and lack of a leader leave them at the mercy of those few within the umbrella of the group whose behaviour is not the norm but the exception.
Rainbow folks, go jump in the lake.
No, really, if you want to make a better impression on your host city during the Rainbow Gathering 2012, go down and clean off in the lake. (And that remark was made in love.)
Read a follow-up to this article.