(Minghui.org) Starke is a small town in rural Florida. At this year’s annual Watermelon Festival on June 26 and 27, practitioners from northeast Florida participated by hosting a Falun Dafa booth. Many people came up to learn about this traditional meditation practice from China. They were delighted to receive paper lotus flowers as gifts and were impressed that they were made by the practitioners themselves.
The Watermelon Festival was held in two large halls where exhibitors displayed crafts of their own creation, such as jewelry, decorations, baked goods, homemade sweets, and much more. Of course, there were also watermelons for sale. On the grounds outside, visitors could buy food from several food trucks. Children enjoyed themselves with many fun activities, with the water slide being very welcome due to the heat. The whole event was framed by country music performed by a live band.
The Falun Dafa booth was in a corner of one of the halls. Many visitors were attracted by the relaxing exercise music and the beautiful lotus flowers. While watching the practitioners demonstrate the exercises, they learned about Falun Dafa and the persecution of the practice in China. Some expressed their indignation at the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s atrocities. Some said they knew about the persecution and the CCP’s crimes of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience.
Visitors to the Watermelon Festival learn about Falun Dafa.
A woman accompanied by three young adults approached the Falun Dafa booth. After a brief conversation, she confirmed the CCP’s infiltration into colleges in the U.S. She commented, “Look at these guys. They all know about the vicious CCP and its lying propaganda. Thank you so much for doing this.” Then she shook the practitioners’ hand. Before moving on, she and her party took several pamphlets to pass on to relatives and friends.
A family with children of different ages passed the booth several times. After learning about Falun Dafa, they were pleased to accept a leaflet and an origami lotus flower. The youngest, a toddler, smiled at the practitioners each time and waved at the practitioner who was demonstrating the exercises. An older teenaged brother followed along to do some of the exercise movements.
A teenager follows along with the exercise movements.
A mother and her four daughters were also drawn to the exercise music and lotus flowers. They listened attentively to the introduction to Falun Dafa and about the persecution. The mother nodded and said, “This meditation practice is what people need. Such persecution is terrible. The CCP is evil and does only bad things. It must be eliminated!” She wanted to sign the online petition to bring an end to the CCP. Her daughters were eager to buy a lotus flower and were surprised to learn that they were free of charge. They thanked the practitioners.
A young woman also admired the lotus flowers. The practitioner handed her one of them while telling her how it grows out of the mud but that no dirt clings to it. The woman was very touched and remarked that she and her mother both had a lotus flower on their arms. She stretched out her arm and showed her tattoo. After taking information about Falun Dafa, she accepted one lotus flower for herself and one for her mother.
Across from the practitioners’ booth, a man was advertising his unique brooms. A young couple purchased two of them and then stopped in front of the Falun Dafa booth. The practitioner joked, “Oh, you’re both working at the same time!” They laughed and listened to more information about the meditation practice.
The couple was very interested and wanted to know where they could learn the exercises. It turned out that they were able to join this practitioner’s local practice group at a nearby beach. The young woman said, “That’s great! Then we’ll take our deck chairs right away and enjoy a day at the beach after the exercises.” The practitioner could sense their genuine interest and asked if they wanted to learn a few exercise movements then and there. They agreed and followed along with the first three exercises. An older woman who ran another booth selling bath products spontaneously joined them.
A young couple and an older woman learn the first three exercises.
Afterwards, the young man mentioned that he needed to practice meditation. He said he often could not control his temper and got angry easily. The couple cheerfully said goodbye and moved on with flyers, lotus flowers, and brooms.
A colorfully dressed man, who delighted the children by twisting balloons into animals and other shapes, also stopped by and learned about Falun Dafa. He left with a leaflet and a lotus flower for his wife, only to return shortly after. He presented the practitioner with a huge balloon flower, saying, “Here. I have a flower for you, too.”
As the two practitioners were considering where to place this flower, a young family approached the booth. The little girl looked at the balloon flower and said how pretty it was. The practitioner asked, “Do you want it? Do you also like lotus flowers?” She gave the girl both flowers, telling her to be a good person and to always remember the words “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance,” the principles of Falun Dafa.