The following story was published by a fan on social media and shared here with her permission.
By Andrea Duvall for The Liberty Block
I can’t believe it’s been an entire month already since PorcFest. I’ve wanted to post about it but at the same time, I’ve been processing it … because it was a profound and transformational experience for my family, with so many feelings and so much to say; it’s difficult finding the right combination of words to describe it (a Porcfest phenomenon that is a real thing, turns out, more about that later).
Really, it brought too much good to my life not to try to find the words; I need to share about it.
“What is Porcfest?” That’s what I asked when I first heard of it back on New Year’s Eve. I had brought myself and my kiddos to a “kid’s countdown to noon” party; little did I realize I was tapping into a community that day. The party was hosted by the soulful, passionate, and awe-inspiring Anie Buzzell in her family’s home in New Hampshire. We had such a great time that day that we would go on to spend much of our winter there, meeting more and more members of this community, all beautiful souls, and all with positive things to say about Porcfest.
Many synchronicities and affirmations would lead me to make the decision that whatever Porcfest was, this year we were going to be there. The vibe was too enticing to miss out on.
Still, what was Porcfest, really? I learned right away my ideas of it being some kind of bbq food festival were way off! It’s actually called the Porcupine Freedom Festival and this year was to be the 19th annual gathering of Liberty-minded and Freedom-loving people who have aligned in life as a community, joining together for one week a year to form a true village.
And that’s exactly what it felt like. Good people, all orchestrating our busy lives and schedules to get together in one physical spot (Roger’s campground in Lancaster, NH) for 6 glorious days of living and learning and communing together; sharing in our knowledge and the delight of summer north of the White Mountains.
We got to experience a week of feeling that sense of being in a village, of living alongside other families with similar life ideologies and stellar vibes, and while there may have been a “bad apple” encounter*, the week as a whole was an experience that healed my soul and my faith in humanity (*Carlijn’s bike was totaled in a hit-and-run incident, thank the Angels she wasn’t on it at the time and though the people who ran over her bike turned a blind eye, the rest of Porcfest was watching and collected a generous donation that was gifted to our family that afforded a new bike to replace the one that was destroyed – and it’s a total upgrade! When the PorcRangers found me at the playground and presented us with such a beautiful gesture, all I could do was give thanks and cry!)
Over and over again, the week of Porcfest showed me how truly blessed I am. That I put in the effort to successfully get on that level and live there because it IS a whole vibe and I’m grateful for the internal guidance that keeps me on the path I’m on because of the experiences I’ve been able to give my kids has been everything. and I’m so grateful.
Porcfest provided my family with a safe space to Be. Within that space, we all had the opportunity to experience life differently and broaden our perspectives. Each of us had new and somewhat unfamiliar territory to traverse and it grew us in positive ways as the week unfolded.
Porcfest gave me room to really relax. To lean on the people around me that I knew I could trust. And when I did that, amazing things happened for me; the best version of myself was able to emerge and BE! ..and that person is a fun Mama who shows up with the good tunes, the healthy snacks, the fun toys, the BIG laughs, and the happy vibes. But I’m also the responsible and nurturing Mama who can be a trusted keeper of children and a safe space myself.
Porcfest gave Carlijn independence. She joined up with girls her age and with the safety of their numbers and the wisdom of their intact intuitions, they flexed their independence and tried out their wings within the safety of a campground filled with families- our village.
With Carlijn off making memories, Dennis’ gift from Porcfest was hard for him to unwrap. And that was adjusting the scope of his world to notice and pursue what interests *him*, and not just tagging along with whatever his sister Carlijn does. He spent the first couple of days completely stuck on his fixation over Carlijn’s adventuring without him, to the point of anxiety and emotional outbursts. I remained steadfast in reminding him how he would benefit from his own experience if only he shifts his focus away from speculating on his sister and stops wasting this gift of time the universe was giving to him. To get curious and see what interested him on his own. It was a notion he still hadn’t quite mastered by the time his sister’s bike was ruined and was quite happy he could return to his usual comfort of adventuring wherever she went.
Cali’s gift was fun and gentle growth out of her comfort zone. My pace and place throughout the week were largely focused and geared around what worked for her. She delighted in the playground, so that’s where we spent our days. In the evenings I would get us back to the Airbnb whenever she gave me the signs that she was ready, but once she and Dennis were asleep and another adult back for the night, I would return to the Porcfest grounds to keep up with the older kids and make sure they were brought home and tucked into bed before sunrise. On the night Cali awoke before I returned, she was lovingly reassured of her safety and tucked back into bed; fast asleep by the time I returned.
Porcfest gave us all gifts, but in true energy exchange, We left our mark on the week as well. Mostly with our very presence, just doing our own thing. Spending my time giving Cali and Dennis their playground time without too much hovering, I created what I called “hammock village” right next to the playground. I set up my 3 hammocks, busted out my 3 sets of devil sticks, cranked my powered speaker with every fun song I could think of, and we played! At first, kids came up and timidly asked, “how much for a ride in a hammock?” My heart about overflowed, I replied “how much fun can you have in a hammock?! There’s no money involved here, climb in and find out!” And hammock village became a known spot where kids could practice their hand-eye coordination with juggling devil sticks, or get themselves joyfully regulated with a swing in a hammock, or make a request for a song to be played. A couple of other Mamas even joined in with setting up face painting…All while my children ran around and played.
Carlijn even won a round of the zombie game the kids play every year. In typical “me” fashion, of course, I nearly crashed their game when I inadvertently broke their rules by “healing” zombies without permission ..and was met with an angry mob of children at my hammock village. All too familiar if you ask me, believe me, I could hardly keep a straight face while I asked them if they had been taught about the Salem witch trials… I told them I’d heal who I wish and they said “well we could just kill you” well then! All too familiar indeed.
We ended up arriving at a verbal treaty in which I promised to only heal zombies who wished to exit their little game so they could go on playing without the total upheaval I had created in their world. In exchange, they’d leave me to my peaceful existence. This entire transaction might seem like nothing significant, but it was a big deal to me because I tend to fly a low profile and have never in this lifetime openly straight up declared myself a witch. In that moment tho another Mama stood beside me in solidarity and proclaimed they’d have to kill her too for she too is a witch! Instant sisterhood bond forged under the threat of an angry child mob! We exchanged contact info
Porcfest renewed my authenticity to live my life with my kiddos according to what works for us. Beyond what I might be tempted to see as my “limitations” of how I’m able to show up in the world with my kiddos, I spent the week completely at peace with how our Porcfest experience was completely unique to us and what works for us. There was a schedule of events, and I never even looked at it. There were talks, meetings, and meetups, an entire itinerary of things that were likely very much worth checking out (the one on sovereignty during childbirth would have been a treat for me to attend) but I kept a peaceful attitude of faith that the week would hold exactly what was meant for us and remained rooted in gratitude for the opportunity to experience it in the first place. We are forever changed for the better and are already looking forward to next year’s Porcfest XX.
I now understand why everyone I talked with about Porcfest had such difficulty explaining what exactly Porcfest is. It’s the Liberty community joining together to form a village, but it’s so much more than that. It’s hope for the future. It’s reassuring that there are people in the world who will preserve and thrive in life because our hearts and minds live with a shared vision for the future and are dedicated to building it together. It’s a special kind of vibe I haven’t found anywhere else (except for at Annie’s Hive and anyone we’ve met through her hub within the community, but of course, that’s where I learned about Porcfest in the first place) it’s a whole lot more than just camping for a week, and I’m blessed to be involved in the movement.
So blessed, I just had to share.