BOONSBORO, Md. (May 10, 2009) – Just as everyone had hoped, the week-long monsoon ended yesterday in time for the first annual Boonsboro Green Fest in the town’s Shafer Park.
“We are so happy for the vendors and exhibitors and for the thousands of area residents who came out,” said Jenny Sarnecki, who served as chair of the event.
“The weather was just perfect and we were overwhelmed by the positive response from everyone,” she added.
Sponsored by the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force, the event couldn’t have been more successful, said Sarnecki, as between 2,000 and 3,000 people came to see the more than 85 earth-friendly exhibits, product demonstrations, services and organizations.
“We’ll be back next year,” was heard over and over again as the vendors packed up their exhibits following the four-hour Green Fest.
“The only complaint we heard was that the festival didn’t run longer into the afternoon,” said Ms. Sarnecki, who also celebrated her birthday Saturday.
Most all of the exhibits were set up and ready to go by the opening time of 10 a.m. Saturday, when people started streaming into the park. Boonsboro Volunteer Fire Department opened its lot on Stouffer Avenue for parking, collecting only donations instead of the usual fee.
A large, solar-powered event sign, supplied by the Washington County Highway Department, marked the North Main Street entrance to the park.
Attendees with recyclables were directed to the Collection Zone in the Community Center parking where drop-off sites were set up for electronics, bikes, sewing machines, sneakers, cell phones, egg cartons, wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, canes, wire clothes hangers, plastic flower pots and rechargeable batteries, and paper, cans and bottles for the county’s 12-Tons-in-4-Hours recycling challenge.
At 11 a.m., Ms. Sarnecki introduced several officials in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Elected officials in attendance included State Sen. Donald Munson, who represents most of Washington County in the General Assembly; Washington County Commissioner Kristin Aleshire; Washington County Board of Education member Donna Brightman and Boonsboro Town Council members Kevin Chambers and Barbara Wetzel, who also serves on the Recycling Task Force and the Green Fest Committee.
Others participating in the Band Stand ceremony were Josh Russin, legislative affairs coordinator for the Governor’s Office for Community Initiatives; Julianna Albowicz, Western Maryland representative for U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski; Julie Pippel, director of the Washington County Division of Environmental Management; Dale Diller, energy management analyst for Washington County Public Schools; Paul Engle, principal of Boonsboro Middle School, and Timothy Aitken, assistant principal of Boonsboro Elementary School.
The 10-member Green Fest Committee was ably assisted by 39 volunteers, including friends and relatives, and students of all ages.
The Gently-Used Clothing Swap & Sale recycled more than 1,500 pieces of clothing.
The Kids Zone was well-attended by nearly 300 children of all ages, interested in hearing stories, making a bird house and “Stamp Out Landfills” stamp, writing a “Pledge to the Earth,” participating in a sing-along and checking out the toys made from recycled materials.
A food vendor announced that his church sold three times more food than they had predicted.
A vendor of hand-crafted items made of recycled materials did a land-office business on her first time at any festival.
Parents of a local vendor drove all the way from North Carolina to participate and they’re coming back next year.
One rain barrel vendor sold all of its barrels in the first hour of the festival.
Recycling stations were busy, as some area residents went back home – after learning what items were being collected – and returned with their recyclables. One local family donated three wheelchairs, which will be fixed up by an organization and given to those in need.
The Boonsboro High School Environmental Club collected hundreds of old cell phones and the sneaker collection bins were overflowing with shoes of every size, headed for the grinder to make running tracks for children.
The Green Fest Committee would like to thank:
The Boonsboro Volunteer Fire Department for opening up its lot on Stouffer Avenue for festival parking,
The Town of Boonsboro employees for working in less than ideal conditions to prepare the beautiful park for the festival and the Police Department for keeping watch over the park and the rest of the town,
Washington County Recycling Coordinator Harvey Hoch for being the county’s liaison on the committee and supporting the committee’s activities for nearly two years,
The Washington County Highway Department for installing the huge, special events sign, and Mr. Hoch for helping to schedule and Police Chief Jeff Hewitt for assisting in its placement on North Main Street.
The 85-plus vendors and exhibitors, including the speakers, who kept the faith that the weather would break and showed up on time, ready to go,
Special kudos to the food vendors, who provided some of the best festival food around,
The sponsors and the door prize donors, who took a chance on a new idea and gave generously,
All who showed their support of the Green Fest idea by attending the festival, purchasing earth-friendly products and learning about new ways to “Walk more gently on this Green Earth.”
Our friends and relatives who helped with directing traffic, marking off the booth locations, putting up signs, handing out brochures and other information, setting up booths, lugging stuff, announcing prize winners, conducting children’s activities, feeding the volunteers and keeping the vendors happy.
The Green Fest Committe
Chair Jenny Sarnecki
Harvey Hoch, county liaison