Thousands pray for peace at Rainbow Family fest

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — About 8,000 members of counterculture group the Rainbow Family have arrived in eastern Utah for the annual gathering's final celebration.

Members on Friday join hands in prayer for world peace, releasing one big "om." The ritual takes place every year on July 4th.

The group was formed in the wake of the Vietnam War. Its creed revolves around nonviolence.

No official leaders head the group, but members refer to organizers as "focalizers." Most defer to a council of elders, who set guidelines and urge members to avoid drinking alcohol on the vast campsite.

Last year, the gathering drew 10,000 to Montana. It has rankled nerves this month in neighboring Heber City, Utah, overloading the local jail with people charged with misdemeanors.

Authorities expect most members to head home on Sunday.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.