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Dan Holmes is thinking about spring.
He and other volunteers are again planning Newtown’s annual Earth Day Festival — 2017 is the celebration’s tenth year. Intended to recognize the anniversary, he said, “We are looking to plant a ten-year commemorative tree — maybe on the school’s front lawn.” While Earth Day had been recognized in town more than a decade ago, he said, “We officially brought it to the middle school ten years ago.”
Touting “awareness,” “smiles,” and “education,” the festival website at newtownearthday.org states, “2017 marks the 10th anniversary … and we couldn’t be more excited.” This year the Newtown celebration and the worldwide Earth Day — first celebrated in 1970 — both fall on Saturday, April 22, Mr Holmes noted.
“I am excited about that,” he said.
The day will find fun, music, vendors, food, family and children’s activities, and more on the middle school lawn. Residents are welcome to join the activities between 10 am and 4 pm.
Mr Holmes’s committee, in part through the Earth Day Festival, will continue to contribute money to the Newtown Earth Day Scholarship Fund “for a high school students pursuing something in the environmental or conservation-type field,” Mr Holmes said.
Thinking back on ten years, Mr Holmes said, “It’s amazing — the day comes and goes and everyone is inspired and there has always been that sense of community.” The event “is so impactful and people with the same beliefs for the environment, health, etc are there to help, and that has not changed.” He also believes in “keeping the continuity and the message going year-round. We want to support that wherever we can throughout the year.” Contributing to the scholarship fund “is a way we can effectively make change by supporting someone supporting the environment through their careers.”
He said, “The festival is one way for people to see what our town has to offer,” and residents can discover efforts where they might lend their time. Mentioning local groups such as Trout Unlimited, (TU) which has a local chapter, or the Conservation Commission, he said, “Just sitting on one of these boards — there is something that can appeal to everybody and the festival is a good showcase for them. The more people involved, the less work for everybody, and it feels good.”
Newtown’s Earth Day Festival finds a “synergy” of groups making connections with the Newtown Forest Association (NFA), for one. “They have been a real supporter, so whenever we do an event we promote it and vice versa. That type of work goes on year round.”
Pootatuck Watershed Association (PWA) “is another group that is doing related activities during the year that we support and promote,” Mr Holmes said.
Planning for this year’s festival is underway, and “vendors are still coming in,” and many often return. “It’s early, still,” he said.
He offers a nod to the Parks and Recreation Department, which “has sort of partnered with us,” and the Newtown Middle School, which has “enabled us to do this at almost at no cost, so we are pretty fortunate.”
Newtown’s Earth Day committee volunteers meet on Mondays at My Place Restaurant, Queen Street, in the back room, at 7:30 pm.
The group seeks volunteers. “We are still looking for people to help with the event, set up and break down, and we could help with marketing to help us get the word out,” Mr Holmes said.
Interested parties can contact him at 203-515-8623 or visit newtownearthday.org.