The Hungry Witch Project 

Pagans celebrate Thanksgiving early.

Thanksgiving comes early today for area pagans, who celebrate the annual Pagan Pride Mabon Festival. Mabon — which means "Thanksgiving" in Celtic — is also designed to dispel myths about the religion. "Every day, I have to educate people that we're not devil-worshipers," says James Harper of Akron's Church of the Spiral Oak. "When you say pagan or witch, people automatically think we're baby-eaters. We're not. We're just like anybody else."

The festival features crystal-ball meditations, fire-spinning demonstrations, and live music by Burning Sage and Fey Fire. Nearly 40 vendors sell gyros, pizza, and barbecued chicken, while pagans compete in archery contests and jousting matches. At 7:45 p.m., a Thanksgiving picnic (with turkey and ham) is served. Harper expects nearly 1,000 pagans to attend. "There are more of us than most people realize," he says. "You can't swing a cat without hitting a witch."
Sat., Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

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