By Asia Butler |
On Saturday, April 23, the Wilmington Earth Day Alliance will be hosting the Wilmington Earth Day Festival. The festival tradition, which began in 1990, attracts a crowd of 4000 to 5000 people every year. The 2016 Festival is free for everyone and will be held from noon until 6 p.m. at Hugh McRae Park. There will be live local music, a Kids Eco Zone, a Learning Center, food and beverages, and more than 50 environmental exhibits on display.
Wilmington Earth Day “Healthy Earth, Healthy People”
The theme for the 2016 Wilmington Earth Day Festival is “Healthy Earth, Healthy People.” The theme was chosen to bring attention to the fact that the health of our natural resources is imperative to the foundation of all life on our planet. The health of the planet is directly connected to our personal health. It is important to protect our natural resources as they are vital components to a sustainable environment that provides crops to feed our growing population and resources to support our economy. This inter-connectedness means that how we treat our natural resources affects our planet, and thus our way of life.
The organizers of Wilmington Earth Alliance hope that a wide array of experiences will help children gain a better understanding and appreciation for the Earth. Kid Eco Zone exhibitors will have fun activities, arts and crafts, and the Nature Brigade Parade to entertain and educate local youth. The festival parade begins at 1:45 p.m. at the kids’ tent and will include walking a short path around the perimeter of the park and ending up at the main stage. Kids wanting to join the parade are encouraged to come dressed up as their favorite flora or fauna creature.
There will also be an area for family friendly games, such as cornhole and putt-putt golf. The Learning Center or the Exhibitor Tent area promises a good time and opportunities to learn about local environmental movements and causes. Attendees are encouraged to talk one-on-one with the exhibitors, the majority of whom have a direct connection to the local environment. Exhibitors represent many different aspects of the local environment, including nonprofits, governmental agencies, for-profit businesses, local advocacy groups, and more. There will also be a raffle with prizes, including a brand new Hurricane Kayak; Freakers beverage containers; $100 half-day kayak rental for two from Hook, Line and Paddle; games from Cape Fear Games; VIP jump passes from DefyGravity, and more.
Live local music is a big part of the Earth Day Festival. Brothers Egg will be performing from 12 p.m. to 1:45 p.m., Mr. Marks Music and N.B.P performs from 1:45 p.m. to 2 p.m., D.H.I.M. takes the stage from 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., and the Folkstone Stringband will close out the festival from 4 p.m. — 6 p.m.
Getting to the festival is convenient using the free shuttle service provided by WAVE Transit to and from Hugh McRae Park from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., and pickups in the Longleaf Mall parking lot, close to the Medac. The festival will take place rain or shine. Rain is an integral part of our water cycle, so the Wilmington Earth Alliance encourages people to come out and enjoy themselves regardless of a few sprinkles! It’s all part of what makes our Earth an amazing place.
The Wilmington Earth Day Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit made up of several community groups and individuals who are environmentally conscious and want to share their message with the community through the Earth Day Festival and other events throughout the year. In 1989, Andy Wood, a well-known local conservationist formed the Earth Day Alliance of the Lower Cape Fear, which is now known as the Wilmington Earth Day Alliance, with the goal of keeping Earth Day alive in Wilmington.