MI Earth Day Fest returns to downtown Rochester
More than 100 displays and presentations plus kids activities highlight the weekend-long MI Earth Day Fest.
Posted April 18, 2017
ROCHESTER — Spring is in the air, which can only mean one thing in Rochester — the MI Earth Day Fest is drawing near.
This year’s event will be held 4-8 p.m. April 21, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. April 22 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 23 at Third and Water streets in downtown Rochester. Last year, it was held in Rochester Municipal Park’s south parking lot.
“It’s a much larger area that will allow us to do some things in a bigger area this year,” Festival Manager John Batdorf said of this year’s location.
The event, held rain or shine, will showcase ways for people to shop, learn and celebrate eco-friendly alternatives with over 100 exhibits, presentations and programs, along with children’s activities, entertainment, organic foods and beverages, free wellness activities, contests and more. Admission to the festival and all programs is free.
Batdorf said the event was created 12 years ago to celebrate Earth Day by spreading awareness of green living and wellness practices in an effort to help the environment.
“It’s to introduce people to businesses, and organizations, and programs, and efforts, that are Earth-friendly. That continues to be an important thing in our minds,” Batdorf said.
Now, the weekend-long Earth Day celebration draws tens of thousands to downtown Rochester annually.
“We thought we had about 30,000 people last year, and at this site, where we have had our largest events, we’ve had maybe 50,000 people,” he said.
Like in years past, on all three days, festivalgoers can shop a variety of green and wellness products, services and programs, which are arranged into 10 groups — named Wellness Way, Green Home and Living, and more. People can take a peek at innovative, eco-friendly and healthy products and services on display in the areas of food, energy, transportation, clothing, home goods, kids items, gardening, finances, art and more.
The festival will feature a variety of presentations on green living and wellness topics, including: the effects of sleep deprivation, a healthy diet, bio-nutrient gardening, secrets to an energy-efficient home, climate change, unknown dangers of lawn fertilization, renewable energy and more. There will also be a number of health screenings, free massages, yoga and other wellness programs, as well as networking and community-building roundtables in the Connect Café.
The entertainment stage will showcase some of the area’s best singers, dancers and musicians throughout the festival weekend, according to organizers. A variety of performances will take place 4-7 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. For a full lineup, visit the festival website.
Children will be entertained at the Whole Kids Corner, which offers a straw bale climb on Saturday and Sunday, recycled arts and crafts, fun with mud, and a full schedule of other activities. They can also participate in a walking parade and pep rally at 10 a.m. April 22.
“One thing that has always been fun about the event is it has always been very family-friendly. It seems to draw not only families … but also people who are really into fitness,” Steve Litz, the festival’s operations manager, explained.
Many eventgoers choose to participate in the Rochester Avon Recreation Authority’s Earth Day 5K Fun Run at 8 a.m. April 23.
Those who work up an appetite can visit one of the many food trucks and vendors, which will offer a variety of healthy, organic and natural meals, snacks and drinks.
Recycling has been expanded this year. The Rochester Community Schools Parent Teacher Association’s Green Schools group will recycle and repurpose electronic, household, office, computer and personal items at the south end of the festival, along Third, between Second and Water streets. For more details, click “Recycle” at www.migreenteam.com.
For more information, including program schedules, lists of participants and all other event details, visit miEDF.com.
About the author
Staff Writer Mary Beth Almond covers the city of Rochester, Rochester Community Schools and Avondale Schools for the Post. Almond has worked for C & G Newspapers since 2005 and attended Michigan State University.
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