Given that it was another one of those weekends with simply too much to cover, I asked Heidi Hornick to cover Earthfest while I covered the Dogwood Arts Festival on Market Square. Held on the World’s Fair Park, it’s been a frustration to me that I’ve not been able to make it and I appreciate her work to bring you the story. Here’s Heidi:
It was a beautiful day to gather at World’s Fair Park to celebrate the earth and sustainability. Thousands came to watch live entertainment, visit over 100 vendors and exhibits, participate in an educational scavenger hunt and have fun and learn about environmentalism.
It was also a great day to unveil plans for a couple of new programs in Knoxville.
Although it will be officially announced at an April 24 press conference, tree-top canopy adventuring is coming to Ijams Nature Center this June. Marketing leader Abby Burt said that Navitat is thrilled to be partnering with Ijams, both well-respected names for outdoor enthusiasts.
Navitat first opened a tree-top course in 2010 on 242 acres in Asheville. That facility was named one of the best zipline tours in the nation by USA Today and Outdoor Magazine, featured in the New York Times and Forbes.
Also, Gerry Moll of the Labor Day Sunflower Project, had a display showcasing his newest venture, the Native Plant Rescue Squad. Before a development gets under way, Moll said, contractors call him. He and his volunteers go out and rescue native plants that are on the property. They are transplanted into areas that need beautification, he said.
John Homa is the city’s solid waste manager and has been with EarthFest since the beginning. “It’s been about education since the beginning,” said Homa.
Jennifer Linginfelter, Knox County’s communications manager, said that the event wouldn’t be possible without the support from an extensive list of sponsors, groups and volunteers. They consistently come through for EarthFest, year after year, she said.
Live music was part of EarthFest, including Baseball the Band. They laid down a tight set of jazz-infused funk that seemed effortless. Their music was an excellent highlight to the festival, injecting a cool vibe that wafted over the area.
Knox County Schools offered a recycled art show.
Copper Ridge Elementary students used over 1,000 plastic bags to make Leatherback turtle sculptures. The turtles are sometimes killed by plastic debris, when they ingest it, mistaking it for jellyfish, their favorite meal.
Instead, there were recycling and composting opportunities. Vendors agree to reduce waste, water-filling stations were available. Last year, the event created less than three pounds of waste that was sent to the landfill.