Balboa Park celebrates 30th annual EarthFair on Sunday
“If the environment is a fad, then it’s going to be our last fad.” — Denis Hayes, organizer of the first Earth Day and chairman of The Earth Day Network.
Celebrate the natural beauty of planet Earth and what we can do to keep it healthy at San Diego Earthworks’ 30th annual EarthFair in Balboa Park on Sunday.
Billed by organizers as the world’s largest free environmental fair and Earth Day celebration, an anticipated 60,000 people will discover booths ranging from traditional conservation organizations and wildlife preservation groups to electric cars and ecotourism opportunities.
EarthFair took root in 1990 as a local commemoration of the worldwide Earth Day, which is celebrated April 22. Over the years, EarthFair has evolved into its own unique affair but with the same message.
“Reflecting on this 30th event, I see progress both made and thwarted, and right now, we’re facing powerful attacks on environmental protections and on science itself,” said Carolyn Chase, co-founder and CEO of San Diego EarthWorks, which produces the event. “So while San Diego is leading on some issues locally, the call for Earth Day remains: connect with how you can help at the EarthFair on one day and then take action on the rest of the year’s earth days.”
Organizing the eco-friendly party takes a village of more than 300, most of whom are volunteering for the first time. Chase said EarthFair couldn’t continue without the city’s public spirit and the willingness to rally. Volunteers are still needed. To see how you can help, visit the volunteer page at earthdayweb.org/EF/EF_Vol.html
There’s so much happening at EarthFair, it’s hard to list it all. Here are a few highlights:
Children’s Earth Parade
The parade steps off at 10:30 a.m. from the Natural History Museum, ending at 11 a.m. at the Children’s Area in the Pan American Plaza. Participants are invited to present their favorite earth-friendly messages, dress up as endangered species, and in general share their commitment to a clean, healthy future. This year’s theme is “Protect Our Climate.” Leading the procession as grand marshal is County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, a strong proponent of the environment.
Special for kids
In the Children’s Activity Area, there will be crafts, games, face painting and hands-on activities for all ages designed to educate, entertain and inspire youth in the spirit of Earth Day. There will be a number of eco-friendly projects and crafts to take part in, including Jeanné’s Connecting with Nature gardening project and the “Trashed” Scavenger Hunt.
NBA veteran Brian Cook will be at Beauty Source Unlimited’s booth from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to talk about pain relief issues, as well as promoting his “People in Need” project that helps the homeless in Southern California. Have your picture taken with the 6-foot 10-inch former Lakers and Clippers player and see if you “Fit in the frame!”
A hip hop art team of seven artists from southeast San Diego will be sharing 4-foot x 8-foot art murals, four of which will be colored in by the public and two will be painted live on canvas during EarthFair.
Local artists will display and sell earth-friendly pieces using recycled or earth-friendly materials, or showcasing depictions of “endangered spaces” in San Diego County from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the lawn adjacent to Presidents Way and Park Boulevard.
The goal of EarthFair is to be a zero-waste event. Everything that is discarded is either recycled, reused or composted. Last year, 90 percent of EarthFair waste was diverted from the landfill. To help you with any accumulated trash, look for one of the 25 Zero Waste Stations with the black, blue and green containers. A “trash talker” at each station will assist you in making sure your “trash” goes in the right bin, and they will be available to answer any recycling questions.
There will be four stages throughout the park. The Children’s Stage, in the kids’ area, features music, song and storytelling geared to the younger set. The Moon Stage (Park Boulevard and Presidents Way) and the Sun Stage (behind the Federal Building) will have contemporary music by local artists. A Magic Stage (in front of the Lily Pond) will feature music and magic with Dr. Wilderness. Showtimes are 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.
International food courts
Visitors will find three food stations: the Plaza de Panama in the north end of the park; the Federal Building lawn in the Pan American Plaza; and at the south end next to the Moon Stage at Park Boulevard and Presidents Way. Turkish, Polish, African, Filipino and Hungarian dishes will be served, including sambusas (stuffed triangular pastries), papusas (cornmeal flatbread) and pierogis (filled dumplings); organic salads; vegan tacos; cabbage and mushroom-steamed buns. No meat here. Just vegan and vegetarian.
Suds will be pouring in the Plaza de Panama in front of the Museum of Art, and next to the Sun Stage behind the Federal Building. Try Sierra Nevada’s Sierraveza, an easy-drinking light lager, or the Hazy Little Thing, an unfiltered IPA. Also featured this year are two kombucha varieties from Boochcraft, one made with ginger, lime and rosehips, and the other with apple, lime and jasmine.
How to get there
By car: If you drive, arrive by 10:30 a.m. Otherwise, the early birds will have filled the lots and nearby street parking, but alternative transportation is available.
Walking: Cut down on fuel emissions and be an air pollution activist — leave your vehicle at home.
Ride a bike: Guarded bike parking will be available on Village Place (off Park Boulevard, south of the San Diego Zoo) and west of the Laurel Street Bridge.
Public transit: The Blue or Orange trolley line will take you to the City College Station between 11th Avenue and Park Boulevard and C Street and Broadway. The Route 7 bus stop is just steps away at the corner of 11th Avenue and C Street and will take you to Balboa Park. To arrive on the west side of the park, take Route 120 and cross the Laurel Street Bridge. For detailed maps and pricing, visit sdmts.com
Disabled parking: There will be extra parking spaces available at the Organ Pavilion lot off Presidents Way. Police will allow cards through provided they have disabled permits and spaces are available.
Getting around: To help you find specific exhibitors of interest, there is a special web-based service (EFExh.org) with a list of 60 topics like “peace,” “solar-electric” and “waste reduction.” Check off the topics you are interested in, press the “Show Exhibitors” button, and the system will list the exhibitors that address those topics, their exhibit descriptions, exhibit locations and a link to their websites.
30th annual EarthFair
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: Throughout most of the central mesa of Balboa Park
Phone: (858) 272-7370
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