Sunday, April 20, 2008

New Thing #100--In Your Own Back Yard

The title refers to the theme of this year's Earth Day celebration - "In Your Own Backyard." Although there has been a festival in St. Louis for years, today I went to an Earth Day Festival for the fist time.

Having never been before, I didn't know what to expect. The festival is held in Forest Park on the grounds of the Muny Theater- in the covered walkways leading up to the theater, lining the streets leading up to the building, and in the grassy areas next to the streets. The grass was a bit muddy in places from the rain the last couple of days, but not too bad. I saw, and stepped around, lots of people, dogs, and strollers.

There were HUNDREDS of booths! Every time I thought we had reached the end, there was another section to look at. Most of the booths (except for the food section and the kid's activities) were in no particular order. A lot of non-profit organizations (both big and little) had booths; there were government organizations and utilities represented. Some booths were selling green products and services, and several religious organizations were giving out information to help you improve the relationship between your body/mind and your environment.

I think that almost EVERY state constitutional petition initiative drive had representatives there. I can't remember the last time I've been asked to sign so many petitions! We were asked to participate in a photo petition...we held a sign that said "Stop Global Warming"; the organizer took our picture, and said they were going to make a collage to send it to Governor Blunt.

We walked by the Peace Garden area, which was located at the perimeter of the festival next to a small pond. It looked very serene, but we didn't stop to go in. There was great music on a couple of different stages-- pretty easy to hear as you walked around. We saw a group of belly dancers performing in one of the pavilions; I realized that not every belly dancer is young and svelte, but they seemed to be enjoying themselves!

It was a great day for being outside and learning what we can do to be better stewards of the earth.

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