BOONSBORO, Md. (May 11, 2013) – She could have dispensed with the thunderstorm. That would have been nice of her. After all, the Boonsboro Green Fest is held in her honor on Mother’s Day weekend. But no, Mother Nature had a different idea on Saturday.
Up until the 20-minute downpour, most of the nearly 2,200 in attendance at Shafer Park for the fifth annual Green Fest on Saturday (May 11) seemed to deal quite well, thank you, with her rainy fits and starts. They just popped up umbrellas or flipped up raincoat hoods and carried on — by visiting vendors’ booths, having lunch, attending a speaker’s presentation, listening to music, or taking the youngsters to the Kids Zone.
Her performance in mid-afternoon undoubtedly dissuaded some folks from heading out to the park. Those who remained, however, were treated to clearer skies before the end of the festivities.
The Yardslippers keep on playing….
“We were amazed by the number of vendors and visitors who stayed in the park,” said Janeen Solberg, co-chair. “So many people found cover and waited out the storm…and the Yardslippers band just kept on playing.”
The storm did not define the day, said Solberg, who along with Barbara Wetzel co-chaired the festival committee for the third year in a row.
Solberg noted there were 160 vendors, more than 200 vehicles dropping off recyclables in the collection zone, representatives from all levels of government participating in the opening ceremony, more than 6,100 items passing through the clothing and sports equipment swap, five guest speakers who were recorded for pod-casts, lively music performed from the special (covered) stage, and children’s activities all day long in their own pavilion.
Donating their time and energy were more than 100 volunteers, including Boy Scouts, high school and college students, and adults who helped with loading and unloading vendor displays, setting up tables and chairs, parking cars, sorting clothing and recyclables, handing out programs, making sure youngsters were entertained in the Kids Zone, announcing events, running errands, and cleaning up.
Each member of the all-volunteer Green Fest Committee had a hand in the planning and production of the events. They were Janeen Solberg (vendor registration and placement), Leslie and Sean Haardt (Kids Zone), Rosemary James (guest speakers), Amy Jones (window display and wind-down event), Frances Lynch (promotion material distribution), Dan Murphy (art/graphics design), Brigitte Schmidt (clothing/sports equipment swap), Laura Schnackenberg (concessions and accounting), Rick Schulman (electronics recycling and parking), Kathy Vesely (volunteers), and Barbara Wetzel (website and publicity). Washington County recycling coordinator Tony Drury served as the county’s liaison on the committee.
The Green Fest was the brainchild of the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force, which was founded in 2007 to promote recycling and conservation. The task force’s primary goal was realized with the advent of the town’s first curbside recycling program last July.
This year the Green Fest Committee took over as the festival’s general sponsor. Eight members of the current 13-member committee have been actively involved in all five annual events. Only two of the original 10 members are no longer with the committee.
Since the Green Fest’s modest beginning in 2009, the Town of Boonsboro has embraced the all-volunteer effort by designating the Green Fest as an official event of the town and providing the venue — Shafer Park.
Attending the opening ceremony were:
- From the Town of Boonsboro, Mayor Skip Kauffman, Assistant Mayor Howard Long and Council members Kevin Chambers, Sean Haardt, Cindy Kauffman, Janeen Solberg, and Barbara Wetzel; town planner Megan Clark, Police Chief Chuck Stanford and crew chief Greg Huntsberry.
- From schools in Boonsboro, elementary principal Hope Fuss, middle school principal Paul Engle, and high school service coordinator Sally Poole.
- From the elected Board of Education, Donna Brightman.
- From the Washington County government, Julie Pippel and Cliff Engle, director and deputy director of environmental management, respectively; Todd Hershey, treasurer; Jason Mallot, register of wills; Jim Holsinger, Sheriff’s Department; and Leslie Hart, agriculture marketing director.
- From the governor’s office, Christopher Uhl, who presented a proclamation designating May 11 as Boonsboro Green Fest Day in the State of Maryland;
- From U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s office, Julianna Albowicz, who presented a certificate of congratulations; and
- From U.S. Rep. John Delaney’s office, Kevin Mack, who also presented a certificate.
Singled out for special recognition were the 10 individuals, businesses and an organization who have been sponsoring partners for all five years of festival: Turn the Page Bookstore and Vesta Pizzeria & Family Restaurant (Bruce Wilder); Bellwether Printing (Ellis Burress); Donna Brightman, horticulture consultant; Reese’s Home Improvement (John Reese); BodySense PT (Shannon Murphy); Michele Shaffer, CPA; Cochran’s Auctioneers, AC&T, and the Boonsboro Historical Society (George and Vickie Messner).
All in all this year, there were 63 sponsoring partners who donated monetary and in-kind contributions, assuring that the festival remained free to the public. In addition, a total of 63 contributors donated more than $2,500 worth of door prizes, which were presented following each of the five guest speaker presentations in the speakers’ tent. The tent was a new feature this year.
The Green Fest Committee presented a beautiful Red Maple tree to Dave Wade, chairperson of the Boonsboro Park Board, to be planted in the original section of the park. A plaque will be placed next to the tree.
Shafer Park was established in the early 1930’s when the Civilian Conservation Corps drained the swampy land and started to develop the park. It was named for the town’s first mayor Jonathan Shafer, who served a century before (1831-35) and whose family donated the land to the town.
Cutting the ribbon to open the event were Green Fest founders, Rosemary James, Amy Jones, Brigitte Schmidt, Laura Schnackenberg, Janeen Solberg, Kathy Vesely and Barbara Wetzel; and members Leslie and Sean Haardt, Frances Lynch and Dan Murphy. Rick Schulman was directing traffic in the recycling zone and was unable to participate in the ceremony. (Founder Harvey Hoch was unable to attend.)
The committee received a lot of help from many others, including the First Hose Company for donating the use of their lot next to the park for free parking; D. M. Bowman, Corp., for setting up a flatbed trailer for use again this year as the stage; Jill Reddicliff (PA announcer); Washington County for waiving the $10 TV set recycling fee; Dan Murphy for donating his artistic talents and time in designing promotional materials; and the 13 sponsors who purchased 16 green lamp-post banners, bringing to 37 the number of banners adorning Main Street and Park Drive. Twenty-two more are needed, so all the lamp-posts along Main Street and Park Drive and in both sections of the park, can be decorated.
Besides the Yardslippers, an eclectic band from Frederick, other music was provided during the morning hours by Tony M. Music, a singer-songwriter from Martinsburg, and in late afternoon by Prophets of the Abstract Truth, an alternative jazz and blues trio.
Tony M. also played in the afternoon in the kids’ pavilion, where youngsters could watch a puppet show, learn about bird houses and feeders, make a Mother’s Day card, and create a giant sunflower mosaic out of bottle caps. Helping the Haardts with activities were teachers Sabrina Blair (Boonsboro Middle School), Christina Hammer-Atkins (Boonsboro Elementary – Magnet School), and Ann Anders (Boonsboro Elementary), in addition to several high school student volunteers.