There was music, food, acrobatics and a lot of ooohs and aaahs in Vietnamese, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, English and several other languages as the hidden retreat, Land of the Medicine Buddha, opened its gates for its annual festival.
The working Buddhist school and retreat drew thousands of visitors Saturday to its campus outside Soquel, which started here 40 years ago. Bus loads of out-of-country visitors climbed the steep hills. Locals parked in Soquel and got free shuttle service to the breathtakingly beautiful retreat.
The Land's grounds are open to hikers year round and the retreat adjoins 10,000 acres of preserved redwoods. But this day was special, from the prayers and blessings to the bounce house for kids.
The day is to bring a taste of Tibetan Buddhist culture to visitors and the buildings and artwork is as beautiful as anything you can see in Nepal (but no monkeys here).
Entertainment included young acrobatic twins from Mongolia, who looked like something from Cirque du Soleil, but way younger and Watsonville Taiko.
Have a look at the slideshow for one of the things in our area that people know around the world, but is a secret to many locals.