Thousands expected for national Rainbow gathering in Northwest Wisconsin

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DELTA, WI– Preparations are underway Friday night, as thousands of people are expected to attend a national gathering in Northwest Wisconsin in just a few short weeks.

It’s something Rythom Katt started going to when he was young, and it’s something he said completely changed his outlook on life.

“When I come to a rainbow gathering, I see people succeed at things. When I learn things from my government. I learn they’re all depleting and they’re going to fail someday,” said Katt.

Making him want to live his life in a way that mattered.

“I’ve thrown my own music festivals, I’ve done disaster relief, protest affinity groups, I’ve traveled the world,” said Katt.

As of Friday, 400 people have already set up camp.

“We’re not coming for the party, we’re coming for the work and the bonding,” said Katt.

But the gathering is expected to draw tens of thousands.

The last time the national branch of this event was in the Northland was 1990 in Tofte.

About a year ago, there was a flood in the area that damaged a lot of roads, so contractors are going to be in the forest fixing the roads.

To prepare for the event, officials have started to inform homeowners in the area.

“We’re out right now visiting the communities just letting them know that this is happening. Sharing the info about the road closures, because of the timing of it with our flood construction happening is a little odd because we have lots of stuff happening in that same general area,” said Hilary Markin with the U.S. Forest Service.

In the midst of preparations, those in the rainbow family said they are simply here for a peaceful time.

“The vision is that we come together to pray for peace and harmony on the earth,” said Katt.

And to continue to learn more about themselves.

“It profoundly changed my life. I didn’t become a deadhead, I became a rainbow warrior,” said Katt.

Because this is such a big event, officials told us there’s an incident management team coming in to help manage the number of people coming to the event.

We’ll be keeping up with the event and bring you the latest.

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DELTA, WI – People have already begun arriving in Wisconsin’s Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest ahead of July’s national Rainbow Gathering.

The week-long event starting July 1 is expected to draw anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 visitors to the area, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The Rainbow Family of Living Light is a counterculture group, loosely affiliated with smaller, sometimes nomadic groups, that has been in existence since the 1970s.

The loose-knit group of people from throughout the USA and other countries come together to pray for world peace and meditation.

The Forest Service is working closely with Tribal, state and local partners to protect the health and safety of participants, and to lessen environmental impacts to the site.

“We understand there may be impacts to our community, our neighbors and other forest visitors,” said Jamie Davidson, Deputy Forest Supervisor for the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. “We are working hard to minimize effects to our local communities and the environment. All visitors to the national forest are expected to obey federal, state and local laws and regulations, and we take the enforcement of these laws very seriously.”

The Forest Service says it is mobilizing a national incident management team with experience managing these types of events.

The last time a national Rainbow Gathering was held in the Northland was in 1990, north of Tofte along the Caribou Trail.

A man was charged with assault in 2018 after he allegedly tried to strangle a woman and bite off part of a man’s finger during a regional Rainbow Gathering in Cook County.

We’ll take a look at the preparations for the Northwest Wisconsin gathering tonight on the KBJR 6 News at 6 & 10.

Here’s a look at the Rainbow Gathering in 1990 from a story produced by KBJR in 2002.

Kevin Jacobsen

Kevin Jacobsen

News Director
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