By Barbara Wetzel
Boonsboro, Md. (May 7, 2011) – If ever there were a near-perfect spring-time community event, then the 2011 Boonsboro Green Fest could serve as the No. 1 template.
Well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but the gods were surely looking after every aspect of the third annual festival at the neatly manicured Shafer Park in the heart of this small Western Maryland town of 3,300.
Sponsored by the 11-member Boonsboro Recycling Task Force, the festival was organized and presented by the 16-member Green Fest Committee, and featured 113 eco-friendly vendors and was additionally supported by 46 sponsoring partners, who donated needed funds and in-kind services.
The event drew 2,200 visitors, according to a unique counting method employed by organizers. Volunteers attempted to place a small, oval “I love Green Fest” lapel sticker on each park visitor and then counted those remaining in the batch to determine the final attendance figure. Up until today’s event there had been no viable way to check attendance, as people arrived at different times and from different park approaches throughout the day.
Park busy all day
The Kids Zone pavilion had a steady stream of youngsters taking part in several fun activities, including a mosaic using bottle caps, seed planting, puppet shows, a scavenger hunt and music by the Boonsboro Middle School woodwind ensemble.
Hundreds of rain barrels and compost bins were purchased at a truckload sale; several thousand articles changed hands at the Clothing Swap & Sale and the Sports Equipment Swap; musical instruments were collected for the local band program; hundreds of sneakers, two dozen bicycles, loads of medical equipment and computers were collected in the Recycling Zone; and, for the first time, animals up for adoption were displayed by the county Humane Society.
Spectators packed the Community Center to the rafters to hear a talk on stink bugs, one of five presentations held during the day. After each program, donated door prizes, ranging from a night at the upscale Inn BoonsBoro to gift certificates for items donated by vendors, were given out to winners following each speaker.
New green banners on lamp posts
The Green Fest Committee introduced a new sponsorship program, featuring banners for the street lamp posts. Nine lamp posts from North Main Street and along Shafer Park Drive to the park were adorned with the green banners, which were purchased by four different sponsors: AC&T, the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force, Donna Brightman and Cronise Corporation General Contractors.
Hopefully, each year more banners will be purchased by sponsors, so eventually all of the 30-plus lamp posts in town will be decorated with green during the week leading up to the Green Fest. The banners will be used until they literally wear out from the effects of the weather, so sponsors can buy a banner once and see it used for as many as six or seven years.
Other major sponsors were Antietam Cable Television, Bellwether Printing (printer), Cochran Auctioneers & Associates (poster printing), DM Designs, LLC (graphic designer), Home Energy Team, M&T Bank, Michele R. Shaffer, CPA (brochure printing), Susquehanna Bank, and Turn the Page Bookstore (paper shredding service).
The ribbon-cutting ceremony, featuring federal, state, county and local officials, along with Green Fest Committee members, was emceed by Herald-Mail columnist and author Tim Rowland and capped off by U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin’s cutting of the ribbon (a strip of the lapel stickers).
Participating in the ceremony were Julianna Albowicz, U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s representative; Robin Summerfield, Sen. Cardin’s representative; State Sen. Chris Shank (District 2); State Del. Neil Parrott (2-B); Christopher Uhl, Gov. Martin O’Malley’s, regional coordinator; Dick Keesecker, manager of Susquehanna Bank’s Boonsboro branch, a Green Fest sponsor; Tom Riford, president and CEO of the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitors Center.
Representing Washington County government were Treasurer Todd Hershey; Sheriff Doug Mullendore; Register of Wills Jason Malott; Commissioners Ruth Anne Callaham, Jeff Cline and Bill McKinley; and Julie Pippel, director of the Division of Environmental Management.
From the county school system were Boonsboro Middle School Principal Paul Engle and Board of Education Member Donna Brightman, who also was a sponsor.
The Town of Boonsboro was represented by Council Members, Janeen Solberg and Barbara Wetzel, who also serve on the Green Fest Committee as Co-Chairs and on the Recycling Task Force, and Kevin Chambers; Town Manager Debra Smith; Town Police Chief Jeff Hewett. Three other Council Members – Cindy Kauffman and Howard Long – along with Mayor Skip Kauffman, were unable to participate in the opening ceremony due to a prior commitment, but did attend the festival later in the day.
The other Green Fest Committee members present for the ceremony were: Leslie and Sean Haardt, Harvey Hoch, Rosemary James, Amy Jones, Frances Lynch, Dan Murphy, Brigitte Schmidt, Laura Schnackenberg, Rick Schulman and Kathy Vesely, along with county liaisons, Recycling Coordinator Tony Drury and Cliff Engle, deputy director of the Division of Environmental Management.
A committee member unable to attend was new mother Sieg Gooding, who gave birth to baby girl Delaney, a future committee member, on Earth Day, April 22.
During the ceremoney, citations from Senators Cardin and Mikulski, and State Senator Shank were presented to the Green Fest committee members, who were all decked out in green T-shirts. Sen. Cardin was presented with a shirt after his short address.
Mother Nature makes a statement
Most of the day was sunny, with soft, cool breezes. But in early afternoon, Mother Nature made her presence known as the sky in the west suddenly darkened and the wind kicked up a few raindrops. She just wanted everybody to know who was still in charge. It was an apt reminder; given this is Mother’s Day weekend.
The threat passed quickly and The Yardslippers, an acoustic four-member band from Frederick, began their lively two-hour, two-set program at the band stand.
Acknowledgements are in order
The Green Fest Committee would like to thank:
The 50 official volunteers, plus the committee members’ families who pitched in whenever needed;
The 113 vendors, many of whom have set up booths all three years of the festival, and especially the food vendors, who worked hard all day providing good choices for the attendees.
The sponsoring partners and the door prize donors;
Boonsboro Town Manager Debra Smith for coordinating the various park preparation tasks;
The Town of Boonsboro for making Green Fest an official town event for the first three years, allowing the committee to use the park at no charge;
The Town’s Police Department for monitoring the park Friday and Saturday;
Town employees, Greg Huntsberry, Tom Fraley and Eric Renner for getting the park ready, including the installation of a new sound system and the green banners;
The Boonsboro First Hose Company for donating the use of its parking area, adjacent to the park and behind the gas station, so Green Fest attendance would be totally free.
The five speakers who gave up their Saturday to talk about important energy and environmental issues.
Town of Boonsboro