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Awareness, Smiles And Plenty Of Education Expected For 6th Earth Day Festival

Newtown’s Sixth Annual Earth Day Festival is promising to be “bigger and better than ever,” according to organizers. Join the celebration on Saturday, April 27, from 10 am to 4 pm, at Newtown Middle School, 11 Queen. Rain date is Sunday, April 28.

The primary mission of the Newtown Earth Day Festival is to foster education and awareness of environmental stewardship through project participation and collaboration with local associations, according to event co-chairs Terrence Ford and Dan Holmes. To invest in the future, festival proceeds are supporting the annual “green” scholarship at Newtown High School.

Organized by members of a festival committee, the day — aimed at family fun and learning — is designed to highlight Newtown’s abundant natural resources and help the community become greener. The festival also provides a forum for residents of all ages “to become more engaged in the collective consciousness and responsibility we owe to the health of Newtown — and to our overall region’s soil, air and water,” the two men said.

From kids’ activities, live music and refreshments to a silent auction, the Lions Club’s Annual Lose The Litter effort, and a vendor/booth area with more than 60 clubs, organizations, businesses and other groups participating, April 27 promises to be a memorable day for the whole community.

Residents can meet Lions Club members at the middle school as early as 9 am. Garbage bags, gloves, and other supplies will be provided at the Lions Club booth. Residents who cannot get to the middle school Saturday morning can arrange to pick up cleaning supplies in advance.

Residents of all ages are encouraged to help pick up roadside litter. Participants can choose a road to clean up or the Lions will suggest one for you.

Beyond the feeling of knowing that they have helped clean up their hometown, some lucky folks will discover one of many prizes hidden around town: gift certificates for free ice cream sundaes at Ferris Acres Creamery. The Lions will continue offering road assignments and handing out supplies until 1 pm Saturday.

For additional Lose The Litter information contact Glenn Nanavaty (203-426-2116) or Ed Miklaszewski (203-885-8561), this year’s co-chairs.

Meanwhile, organizers say this year’s Earth Day celebration has a focus on children’s fun. Organizers have scheduled a full day of family activities and learning.

The event will officially open at 10 am with the singing of the national anthem by Brett Boles, followed by a performance by Newtown Youth Voices with Jim Allyn.

Ongoing activities will include the opportunity to make your own birdfeeders with EverWonder Children’s Museum, eco-crafts and tie-dying with the FunArt Bus, creating seed balls and pottings, kids crafts with Nancy Diperrio, worm composting with Transition Newtown, beekeeping with Jeff Shwartz, learning how to knit with Nicole Christensen, and bike safety checks with Mr Ford.

An interactive, educational and earth-friendly environmental maze will again be laid out on the school’s front lawn. Constructed with bamboo, the maze will offer a fun-filled opportunity for kids of all ages to learn about the environment. Numbered junctions will challenge participants with questions from a guide sheet, and correct answers will lead them in the right direction toward the exit. Incorrect answers will lead to a dead end.

The Sustainable Energy Commission’s booth will have information on how to save money on residential electric bills, including the opportunity to sign up for clean energy. (Bring a copy of a current utility bill if interested in signing up on Saturday.)

Also ongoing will be ice cream tastings courtesy The Farmer’s Cow, with the additional benefit of being able to support the state’s remaining farmland. 

The “crunchy” is on to preserve farmland in Connecticut. Of the 3.5 million acres in the Nutmeg State, only about seven percent is actively farmed. Much of the prime agricultural land has disappeared at a rapid rate because it is flat and easy to develop into parking lots, office parks, and housting developments (what some call “the last crop”).

The farmers of The Farmer’s Cow feel it is important to preserve working farmland to produce local food for generations to come. To bring attention to the issue, The Farmer's Cow began producing Farmland Crunch ice cream. For each pint sold, The Farmer’s Cow will donate toward farmland preservation and the Conenctict Farmland Trust.

Farmland Crunch combines The Farmer’s Cow already established flavor of Hay! Hay! Vanilla with chunks of butter crunch candy, roasted almonds and choclate chips, all wrapped in a caramel swirl. Visitors to Newtown's Earth Day Festival will be able to sample Farmland Crunch, and can even purchase pints to take home. All proceeds from the pints sold will be donated to The Connecticut Farmland Trust, a 501(c)(3) founded in 2002 and the only land trust in the state dedicated solely to the protection of agricultural land. Since its founds, CFT has protected 27 farms and over 2,100 acres.

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Scheduled events and performers for the 6th Annual Newtown Earth Day Festival are as follows:

10:45 am: Drum Circle with Cadence Carroll;

11 am: Housatonic Valley Waldorf School Musicians; also Sharon Audubon Birds of Prey demonstration;

11:15 am: The Graceful Planet Flash Mob dance workshop, followed at 11:45 by flash mob dancing;

Noon: SunDad (father and son world fusion, jam band) and The Graceful Planet Family Yoga;

12:30 pm: Sharon Audubon Birds of Prey second demonstration;

1 pm: Performance by Time and Again (Newtown High School rock/ska band);

1:45 pm: Comments by First Selectman Pat Llodra;

2 pm: Performance by The Shout Backs (“outlaw string band with a moonshine heart”); and Newtown Youth Academy Boot Camp (test your strength, endurance, and humor);

3 pm: Performance by Bedlam Brothers String Band (local pickers and grinners), plus old-fashioned relay races and games with Terrence Ford; and

Afternoon, ongoing: Predator-prey and food web tag, recycling toss.

For additinal information, including updated schedules and announcements, visit NewtownEarthDay.org, like the festival's event page on Facebook, or follow its Twitter feed.

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