Set up in progress for ‘Rainbow Family’ gathering in Utah

Posted at 9:53 PM, Jun 22, 2014

NORTHERN UTAH -- An international group of free-spirited campers who call themselves the Rainbow Family have chosen the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest about 40 miles from Heber for their annual July gathering.

It’s an event thousands of people travel from all over the world to attend.

When you arrive at the camp, chances are you'll hear, “Welcome home” or “loving you” from someone you don't even know, but the thing is when you arrive to camp you are considered family--part of the Rainbow Family.

"We’re a group of people that come together as a family and take care of each other and love each other and to try and promote healing and meditation and prayer, just love and we're just like a big family reunion,” said Avocado Andy, who is a chef for the Rainbow Family gathering.

"The Rainbow Gathering is a hard thing to sum up, it's a lot of things to a lot of people,” said Joshua, another attendee.

For decades, the Rainbow Family has gathered in remote locations all over the world--attracting people from all walks of life.

"I’ve been to one in Costa Rica, Canada, my daughter was born at a Rainbow Gathering in Quebec,” Joshua said.

This year’s camp spans for miles and miles in the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest. It’s an organic community where money is no good.

"We don't buy anything from each other,” Avocado Andy said. “We trade if we need to or we just take care of each other. If you have a need and it’s a need not a want, I’m going to make sure your need gets met.”

And all needs are met; there are doctors and nurses for emergencies, kids’ camp and yoga. There is an array of kitchens serving up a variety of food and there is running water.

"These guys run miles of above line 3-inch PVC pipe, running water to each kitchen or kitchen site so we can stay clean and sanitary and make sure no one gets sick because we don't want sick hippies in the woods,” Avocado Andy said.

The U.S. Forestry Service is patrolling the camp sites regularly, but the Rainbow Family said they are just here to spread peace and love. They said the weeklong event is kid friendly and alcohol free.

"We experience what nature really is,” said Buckles, a hitch hiker who attended the gathering.

"We’re just a big family, and anyone is welcome: If you have a belly button you are a Rainbow,” Avocado Andy said.

Right now is the official set up of the camp. The healing gathering where everyone is invited takes place July 1 through July 7.

Related story: Officials warning residents about 'Rainbow Family' gathering, LDS Church moving children from area