Earth Day Fest moves to new location

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published April 15, 2015

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ROCHESTER — The massive green festival that has taken over downtown Rochester annually for the past 10 years is moving to the parking lot near the south entrance of Rochester Municipal Park this year.

“We have a larger area than we had last year, so we are going to have more exhibitors and more room for programming, and also we are connected very nicely to the natural features of the park, the trail and the park, so it’s a beautiful setting,” said festival manager John Batdorf.

Presented by MI Green Team, the MI Earth Day Fest typically draws tens of thousands of people each year to learn about healthy living and peruse earth-friendly products, services and programs.

“We typically see 50,000 people, so it has been attended extremely well,” said festival spokesperson Jeffrey Chynoweth. “It’s all about community. It’s really showcasing our community, and it’s extremely family-friendly.”

The event, according to Batdorf, was created 10 years ago to bring the green message to the public.

“The purpose is just to celebrate and highlight what people are doing locally to make it a healthier environment and economy and give people options for cleaner and healthier products and services,” he said.

This year’s event — held from 4-8 p.m. April 24, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. April 25 and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. April 26, rain or shine — will showcase ways for people to shop, learn and celebrate eco-friendly alternatives with more than 100 exhibits, presentations and programs,  along with kids’ activities, entertainment, organic foods and beverages, free wellness activities, contests and more. Admission to the festival and all programs is free.

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, including the community garden group Raising Rochester at 6 p.m. Friday and a presentation on climate change, fracking and local implications by Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner Jim Nash at noon Saturday. Cardiologist and “The Holistic Heart Book” author Dr. Joel Kahn will hold a presentation on living longer with a green lifestyle at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Presenters will discuss edible landscape design and permaculture at 5 p.m. Saturday. The community can learn about the global “Transition Town” movement to use fewer fossil fuels, protect the environment, build stronger communities and live richer lives at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Lawrence Tech University Pioneer Material Renewal project — which deconstructs blighted homes in Detroit and constructs new buildings from the salvaged materials — will be discussed at 3 p.m. Sunday. Children will be entertained at the Whole Kids Corner, which offers a straw bale and climbing tower on Saturday and Sunday, and a recycled costume parade at 11 a.m. Saturday, plus fun with mud and a full schedule of other activities.

Rochester Community Schools’ Parent Teacher Association’s Green Schools group will recycle and repurpose electronic, household, office, computer and personal items. World Medical Relief will collect used durable medical equipment. For more details, visit the festival’s “Recycle” webpage. 

For all event details, including program schedules and lists of participants, visit www.miEDF.org.

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