Hendo Earth Day Festival Coming Downtown - TribPapers

Hendo Earth Day Festival Coming Downtown

Bee City USA offers free seeds at the inaugural Hendo Earth Day festival. Photo provided by the Environmental Sustainability Board.

Hendersonville – The City of Hendersonville will celebrate Earth Day in style with the return of the Hendo Earth Fest on Saturday, April 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The festival will stretch from 6th Avenue to 4th Avenue in Downtown Hendersonville and is intended to entertain, educate and empower attendees to take action to protect the planet.

This is the second annual event, organized by the City of Hendersonville’s Environmental Sustainability Board with partners including MountainTrue, Conserving Carolina, the Aquarium & Shark Lab by Team ECCO, Caregivers of Mother Earth, and the Blue Ridge Bicycle Club.

The festival was born out of requests from local residents who suggested a festival to honor Earth Day and encourage action, according to Environmental Sustainability Board member Ann Twiggs. The inaugural festival in 2023 saw more than 2,000 attendees and organizers expect a larger turnout this year.

“We hope people come away with positive steps that they can take in their daily lives,” said Twiggs. “We want them to feel helpful.”

The festival will feature 45 exhibitors on a range of environmental topics. Many will offer hands-on activities in addition to information. Exhibitors include municipal boards and recycling and waste management resources, as well as conservation organizations such as Champions for Wildlife and Henderson County Beekeepers.

Team ECCO, home to the famous stingray Charlotte, will have an exhibit including a photo booth and a stilt walker. WNC Repair Shop will have a presence, encouraging the repair of damaged items rather than throwing them away. There will also be a number of exhibitors dedicated to solar power, a popular topic for locals.

“In a recent sustainability survey, 11% of Henderson County residents have solar panels, but 68% are interested in them,” said Twiggs.

Blue Ridge Bicycle Club will have an exhibit and is offering a free, secure bike parking area at City Hall to encourage attendees to bike to the event. The club will host a family-friendly bike ride beginning at 10:00 AM at First Congregational Church, traveling along 4th Avenue, and ending at the festival.

Hendo Earth Day will also include performances from local musicians throughout the day. Michele Skeele, Don McMahon & Friends and Tom Fisch will perform in addition to the a capella group Atomic Sisterhood singing environmentally-focused renditions of popular tunes. The Hendersonville Ukulele Group and Hendersonville Community Co-Op HOOT will offer sing-alongs with the crowd.

Beginning at 11:45 AM, Hendersonville Mayor Barbara Volk will deliver remarks and an Earth Day Proclamation to mark the occasion. The Environmental Sustainability Board will also announce the Sustainability Hero Award, given to a city employee who has gone above and beyond in their efforts to encourage more efficient and sustainable processes.

The Environmental Sustainability Board was created in 2015 to advise Hendersonville City Council on sustainability policies and to do outreach work such as the Hendo Earth Day Festival. Current initiatives for the ten-member, volunteer board include work with pollinators and composting programs, and the creation of a full sustainability plan, according to Twiggs.