Founder Acharya His Divine Grace
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Harmony Collective Wins Award in Ypsilante’s Historic Bicentennial Parade
By Thomas Haribol, ISKCON News Managing Editor   |  Jul 19, 2023

Members of the Harmony Collective devotee community in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA, were awarded “Best Presentation” at the 2023 Ypsilanti 4th of July parade.  This year’s parade was especially significant and well-attended because it marks the small town’s bicentennial (200th anniversary). “It felt extra sweet to get some formal appreciation from the parade crew on such a memorable mark in the city’s history,” said Deva Madhava, Community Director.

The community began as a preaching center in the nearby college town of Ann Arbor. In 2014 they mortgaged 108 N. Adams Street to use as their community center. On Gaura Purnima of 2022, the center became a temple when they welcomed charming Sri Sri Gaura Nitai deities who had first been installed in Encinitas, California, 20 years prior.  Along with a restaurant and yoga studio, they also maintain a 10-acre farm with a pond in nearby Maybee, MI.  Named Goloka Prema Dhama, it’s also the home to three cows and four oxen. Their “cow cuddling” program is the top-rated AirBnB experience for all of Metro Detroit.  Another success at the farm is the flourishing garden project called Sage Roots, dedicated to providing fresh organic and hydroponically grown food to the local community through farmer’s markets and CSA boxes.

Winning the award wasn’t the only significant moment at the parade for devotees. They also had a serendipitous encounter with a parade participant. Rebecca, a mother of ten and grandmother of 41, stopped the devotees and exclaimed, “Are you really here?!” She had known and loved the Boston devotees in the 1970s. “To have 41 grandkids means her own children probably enjoyed growing up with a big family, and they felt loved and cared for growing up,” said Vrindavani Devi Dasi.

Rebecca in the center with Krishna devotees.

“When we do harinama in public, I often pray that all those who in any way have ever made some contribution to that place may be blessed,” Deva Madhava said, “Taxpayers, small business owners, police, parents over the centuries…let them all receive some credit for this chance we have today to pray and celebrate God and each other safely. Interdependence is where the highest happiness is to be found.”

You can follow the inspiring service of the Ypsilanti devotees on their website, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.