Morning rain soaked the start to Newtown’s seventh annual Earth Day Festival, but did not hold back a late-day crowd Saturday, April 26.
“Yes, it was a great day,” said Connie Widmann, who helped organize this year’s event. Despite the day’s wet start, she said, “It was a wonderful turnout. As for the number of attendees, we felt that this was a great turn out for the weather at the start of the day.”
As in the past, proceeds will benefit the Newtown Scholarship Association (NSA), to which the Newtown Earth Day Committee has contributed $5,000 over the last three years. As a result, the NSA has been able to provide a graduating high school senior an award of $2,000 in 2013 and $1,000 in 2012. They will be awarding a scholarship of $2,000 again this year.
Moving back and forth between the many vendors and activities were children making crafts, painting, playing games, and more.
Holding a friend’s Bijon named Coco were Lily Moreno Sheridan and Diana Wipf. The two stopped at several booths including chiropractor Dr John Popowich’s, where they spun paint onto Frisbees. Also making Frisbees were Zinnia and Henry James.
Near the Diana by Design booth, a crafter from Avon who makes clothing, Daniel Jaeger knelt down to pet Abbey, Roseanne Loring’s golden retriever therapy dog. Also crouching down to pet Abbey were sisters Alexa and Jenna Scovill. Behind them and standing in the shade from their canopy were Corinne and Amy Cox, promoting Cullens Youth Association. Located at 72 Taunton Lake Road, the facility offers lodging, campsites, access to Taunton Lake for canoeing and fishing, and is open to youth groups year-round.
At a nearby booth resident Ben Toby was helping a small group of children assemble birdhouses thanks to materials donated through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s wildlife center.
Brother and sister Noah and Ivy Masotta, from behind safety goggles, watched while Mr Toby drilled out a hole for the birdhouse entrance. The children asked if he would need bird food.
“No,” he answered, explaining the birdhouse would be used for a nest. “The mother will have a nest and babies.” He said that once small blue eggs appear, then the birdhouse was a “smashing success.”
Across the lawn and with Norman the turkey behind a low gate was Stephanie Paproski from Castle Hill Farm. A cluster of children gathered to watch Norman strut and stretch out his wings. Teagan Waaler’s and Heidi Farnum’s attention soon shifted from the big bird to colorful pinwheel flowers that spun in the breeze.
Crossing the Newtown Middle School grounds were Odyssey of The Mind students Sean Connor, dressed in a large blue sack as Mother Earth, and Bobby Elston, wearing a large yellow star as Ray O Sunshine. Their Odyssey team is raising funds for an upcoming trip to Iowa.
High school Odyssey team members Jacob Emmerthal and Annah Fitzgerald were raising money Saturday by writing poems, haikus, or limericks in exchange for donations.
What would they write about? Annah said, “We look at [the person] and something will inspire us.” As she crouched and wrote out some verse, Jacob held up a cardboard sign to shade her from the sun.