Love Modesto isn’t the only affectionate effort in town Saturday. The Big Blue Marble itself is the focus of the city’s Earth Day in the Park Festival.
The 27th annual celebration in Graceada Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. is a day of “green education” on how residents can reduce, reuse and recycle at home, school and work, organizers say.
More than 100 exhibitors, from nonprofit organizations to businesses, will showcase the work they’re doing and the Earth-friendly products they have available. For example, said Vicki Rice, recycling program coordinator with the city Public Works Department, “we have a company that will be doing solar oven demonstrations, cooking tater tots and french fries” and giving away samples.
The Stanislaus County Library will have a booth displaying Kill a Watt EZ and Watts Up? PRO electricity usage meters, said spokeswoman Susan Lilly. Because the library recently added mobile circulation, she said, it can issue library cards at the festival and people can check out the meters to take home. “Customers can use them to measure how much electricity their home appliances are using and potentially save money (and conserve energy) by turning off or unplugging appliances when not in use,” Lilly said in an email.
I would make sure to bring your own reusable bag because there will be lots of free stuff, like seed packets. Plan to stay awhile for the art projects, plantings, coloring. ... And come hungry – there are lots of food vendors, and no duplications.
Vicki Rice, Modesto’s recycling program coordinator
The Kill a Watt EZ meters are available at every branch library. The Watts Up? PRO, which gives more detailed information, is available in Modesto and Salida. The meters were purchased through grants from the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts.
In addition to the serious information that will be shared at Earth Day in the Park, the festival promises plenty of fun for children and adults. Entertainment will include interactive play by Bubblemania & Company, the Silly String Band, a petting zoo and ongoing music and games by TNT Productions. There even will be a dog-adoption center.
Arts and crafts offerings will include a Center for Human Services table at which kids can make binoculars using toilet-paper rolls, a Peer Recovery Art Project booth and a coloring station at The Modesto Bee booth. An Earth Day coloring page was included in Sunday’s Bee, and children may drop off their colored page to be entered in a prize drawing. Copies of the page also will be available at the booth, along with crayons. It also can be printed at modbee.com/earthday. Click on the “kraft wrap” link.
Entries in the festival’s Trash-Formation Art Contest also will be judged. There are several age divisions for kindergartners through high school seniors, and cash prizes are offered. Get more information and an entry sheet at www.modestogov.com/recycling/earthday.asp.
“Something I think is exciting is we have the San Joaquin Conservation Corps doing ecostations throughout the park for us,” Rice said. “They’ll be source-separating the trash. We want to capture the organic waste – food and paper – and have it uncontaminated.” That means removing metals and plastics like straws and Styrofoam – “things our vendors really shouldn’t have anyway,” she said.
“Very new this year is our own highly trained Forestry Department workers will be doing tree-climbing demonstrations,” Rice added. “So to spark an interest, we also have a climbing wall, which is the only thing at the festival that’s not free.”
And to introduce people to the convenience of using public transit, a free StaRT shuttle bus between Graceada Park and the CrossPoint Community Church parking lot on 12th Street will be running every 20 minutes. Modesto Nuts mascots Al, Wally and Shelley will be riding along in the afternoon and giving away baseball game tickets.
Deke Farrow: 209-578-2327
Drive-through recycling Saturday
Adjacent to Graceada Park during festival hours will be a free Boyett B-Green Recycling event on Stoddard Avenue between Park and Sycamore avenues. Recyclables donated will be matched dollar for dollar by Boyett Petroleum. All funds are applied to the city’s Adopt A Park program, which is raising money to replace the seating at Mancini Bowl in Graceada Park.
Items accepted for recycling include:
▪ CRV bottles, cans, plastic and scrap metal
▪ E-waste (TVs, computers, laptops, video games, electronics, etc.)
▪ Ink-jet and toner cartridges
▪ Household batteries and cellphones.
There also will be on-site document shredding, with a limit of five file boxes or grocery bags per person.