The Himalayan Fair at Live Oak Park has been a Berkeley fixture since 1984. Photo: Hannah Long

By Hannah Long

This weekend, Live Oak Park came alive with the Himalayan Fair, a two-day celebration of the art, food, and culture of Tibet, Nepal, Pakistan, Burma, and India, among other countries.

Berkeley resident and scientist Arlene Blum founded the Fair in 1984 after she spent an inspirational year in the Himalayas: “I trekked across the Himalayan mountain ranges and saw incredible festivals everywhere,” she said, speaking at the booth she was running at the fair. “I even saw the Dalai Lama giving a speech. After this year of festivals, I came back and wanted to share them with the people of Berkeley.”

Arlene Blum: founded the Himalayan Fair in Berkeley 28 years ago. Photo: Hannah Long

More than 100 stalls were offering traditional Himalayan clothes and crafts at the fair, such as the shawls and scarves of long-time vendor Dolma Dhenchitsong, which come directly from India. There were also traditional dishes being served, such as momos and other Tibetan dishes, and lively dance and music performances.

Ragni: loves the authenticity of the art. Photo: Hannah Long

The fair is beloved by many Berkeley residents for its unique and genuine representation of Himalayan culture. Said one attendee, Ragni, who will be traveling to the Himalayas herself in a few weeks: “I love the authenticity of the art, instruments, and clothing, and I love seeing all of the Nepalese people.”

Blum said she loves meeting interesting people at the fair and really appreciates the joy it creates: “This fair embodies one of the central tenets of Buddhism: to increase happiness and decrease suffering.”

Hundreds of people turned up to watch performances and browse the stalls over the weekend. Photo: Hannah Long

Check out more photos of the Himalayan Fair by Berkeleyside contributing photographer Nancy Rubin.

Snapshot: Arlene Blum: Scientist, author, climber, activist [03.06.12]

To find out what is going on in Berkeley and nearby, visit Berkeleyside’s Events Calendar. We also encourage you to submit your own events.

Freelance writers with story pitches can email