Our Environment. Our Home. OUR CHALLENGE.

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Otsego County Conservation Association’s annual Earth Festival returns this Saturday with vendors and exhibitors, recycling opportunities, Spring Garden Day, yoga, a bird walk, clothing swap, pre-Festival movie night and more. The event runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Milford Central School.

Now in its thirteenth year, Earth Festival is an environmentally-focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, activities, vendors and entertainment. This year includes three pre-festival events. Earth Festival Movie Night, sponsored by Otsego 2000 and Glimmerglass Film Days, features Landfill Harmonic, an inspiring, family-friendly film that follows “The Recycled Orchestra” of Paraguay, who create all their instruments from trash. The movie will be shown on Friday, April 20, at 7 p.m. at the Herbert B. Garman, Jr. Performing Arts Center at Milford Central School, and is free.

On Saturday, April 21, Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society leads a pre-festival bird walk. Meet at the main school parking lot at 9 a.m. and carpool to a nearby area in search of birds. Participants will return to the school in time for the official 11a.m. opening of the Earth Festival exhibitor and vendor fair. In addition to the bird walk, the Otsego Regional Cycling Advocates (ORCA) is hosting a bicycle safety class from 9am to 1pm.  If interested, visit the Otsego 2000 website to register.

“We have a really great combination of returning favorites and new exhibitors this year,” said Leslie Orzetti, OCCA’s executive director.

Confirmed exhibitors and vendors include OCCA, the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market, Ideuma Creek Alpacas, Casella Waste Systems, Ariginal Art and the Leather Stocking Bee Keepers Association. A full list can be found at www.occainfo.org/earth-festival. Food vendors include Origins Café and Tickled Pink Barbecue.

The Master Gardener Volunteers of Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties will be hosting Spring Garden Day in conjunction with Earth Festival. Spring Garden Day is a day devoted to gardening and growing environments, with workshops on a variety of gardening topics built around the theme of “Try Something New.” Workshop topics include gardening with native plants, growing shiitake mushrooms, and herb gardens. Pre-registration and a $10 fee are required for Spring Garden Day workshops. Contact Cornell Cooperative Extension at (607) 547-2536, extension 0 for information or to register.

Recycling is always an important part of Earth Festival. The OCCA Recycling Committee is again offering special recycling opportunities for Styrofoam (clean and white only, including rigid foam, egg cartons, and clean takeout food containers, but not meat trays); tennis balls; inkjet cartridges and small, handheld electronics such as cellphones; pens and markers; dental care items (used toothpaste tubes, dental floss and dental tape containers and packaging, used toothbrushes and packaging); natural wine corks; monofilament fishing line. In addition, the Lions Club of Cooperstown will be collecting eyeglasses, and Hopeful Hearts will be collecting used tubes from toilet paper and paper towel rolls, windowed envelopes, and Wal-Mart bags. Empire Recycling’s Confidata Shredding Truck will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to provide free document shredding to individuals (5 boxes, maximum).

New this year is the Earth Festival Community Clothing Swap. Lightly-worn clothing and shoes for all ages and genders will be on display in the school cafeteria. Anyone can take what they need, whether they donate to the swap or not.

“The clothing swap enables us to help people find new homes for their gently-used goods, and to find good quality clothes for themselves and their families,” said volunteer Angelica Palmer, who is running the swap.

Clothing can be dropped off at the school from 4 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 20, or between 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. during Earth Festival. The Community Clothing Swap will be open for browsing throughout the event.

Returning after a short hiatus is the Recycled Fashion Show at 2 p.m. Open to all, the Fashion Show seeks to incorporate used items into articles of clothing. To enter, bring your recycled fashion to the auditorium at 1:30 p.m. Recycled fashions can also be entered into the EcoArt display and contest. This popular feature challenges participants to find new life for old items. Entries can be artistic, useful, or both.

Yoga Big and Small will be held in the small gym at 1:30 p.m. Led by local, certified instructors Katherine Walters, of Love Your Life Yoga & Community in Milford, and Karla Andela, the session will be for children and adults, no experience necessary. Mats will be provided. Yoga is free, though pre-registration is appreciated. Pre-register using the form at http://occainfo.org/calendar/earth-festival-2017/.

For a full schedule of activities, vendors, and recycling list, visit http://occainfo.org/earth-festival/.

Earth Festival 2018 is presented by Otsego County Conservation Association, with support from Five Star Subaru, Central New York Tent Rentals, Otsego 2000 and Cooperstown Natural Foods. For further information, visit www.occainfo.org, call (607) 547-4488, or e-mail director@occainfo.org.

Founded in 1968, Otsego County Conservation Association is dedicated to promoting the sustainable use of Otsego County’s natural resources through education, advocacy, resource management, research, planning, and practice. For more information on OCCA, or to donate, visit www.occainfo.org.