It was a very earth-friendly weekend in the Amherst area to say the least. Sunday marked the 42nd celebration of Earth Day, so there were multiple events going on both on-and off-campus throughout the weekend. Saturday April 21st marked the Amherst Sustainability Festival on the town common. Unlike Earth Day’s not-so-friendly weather, attendees and vendors were treated to near perfect conditions. The third annual festival of its kind featured over 100 booths, which included both public organizations and private vendors selling anything from bamboo flutes to henna tattoos. Most booth-holders were selling locally-grown fruits and vegetables or promoting sustainable alternatives. Amherst Sustainability Coordinator Stephanie Ciccarello emphasized the importance of events such as these and the impacts they can have on local residents: “Our goal is to have this event be family-fun, and for people to buy products and services that are sustainable”, said Ciccarello. “We want to provide education about recycling and teach people how they can live a greener lifestyle.” There was certainly no shortage of recycling vendors or solar energy promotion, along with two upcycling demonstrations. This relatively recent process avoids producing the sometimes lower quality products that arise from recycling. Instead, upycling converts waste materials into products of higher value.
Earth Day Festivities in Amherst Abound
On a lighter note, karate students put on a performance that entertained onlookers while they visited their respective booths. This went along with live music performances and demonstrations to create the festive atmosphere that was hindered by rain during last year’s event. Ciccarello also mentioned this year’s good weather contributed to the large turnout and
went on to say, “It’s great because people are so enthusiastic about this event, and we hope to continue this success.” With a turnout rate like this, it will be hard to imagine this success slowing down anytime soon.
The festivities traveled just down the road to the W.E.B. Du Bois Library Lawn on Sunday afternoon. The 2012 Earth Day Festival and Student Farmer Aid Concert was not hindered by
the downpour of rain outside, rather embracing the shower for its overdue appearance. Multiple student organizations were represented at the fair, including UMass Student Farm,
UMass Permaculture, Ban The Bottle campaign, and Bike Share Program among others. The Eco-Rep Program also had a tye-dye table that left college students reminiscing in childhood. A festival is nothing without good music and those attending were treated to live shows throughout the afternoon. The bands made way for some pretty unique dancing between the array of tabling vendors. Earth Day certainly left its mark on the Amherst area and combined an educational lesson with entertainment to create a great all-around experience. Hopefully, this can continue in future years as sustainability awareness continues to grow.