FRAMINGHAM – After a two-year absence due to the pandemic, the Framingham Earth Day Festival brought Center Common to life on Saturday with music, hot corn and recycling.
More than 50 vendors lined the edges of Village Green from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. where visitors marched under sunny skies to celebrate Earth Day which is observed on April 22.
This was the 10th edition of the festival, according to Donna Kramer Merritt, president and founder.
“It’s really an opportunity for the community to come together and see all the different things they can do about climate change,” Merritt said. “When you come here, you can see that you can not only recycle and compost, but you can take care of the outdoors or you can choose to buy things that are recycled, or you can buy solar panels, or you you can get a heat pump for your home, or you can act politically.”
Jamie Fitts was at the festival with her three children, Violet, Shepard and TJ
She said bringing her kids to the event was important.
“They’re the future and we’re setting a good example by doing things like that,” Fitts said. “There are so many people here showing what they’re doing and things we can all do to make things better, like composting or making art out of scraps.”
Violet, 11, was excited to do her part to help the environment.
“It’s important for kids to be here so they know how to reuse bags and do different things to save the Earth,” Violet said. “We shouldn’t use so much plastic because it goes into landfills and it’s very bad for all animals.
“We should always try to make the world a better place,” she said.
Festival vendors offered services focused on plastic recycling, compost processing, tree planting and other outreach efforts.
Christine Wyman, founder of the nonprofit Social Catalysts Charitable Foundation, sold woven bags with video tapes by people with cognitive impairments and mental health issues.
Wyman said his Stow-based organization is working with Incompass Human Services in Lawrence to provide jobs for people with disabilities while reducing the problem of video tapes piling up in landfills.
“In 1994 alone, over half a billion videotapes were sold,” Wyman said. “In 2010 I was trying to recycle video tapes, but I also knew that unemployment was a big problem for people with disabilities, so I said, ‘Why don’t we try to do something with recycling and jobs and let’s see what we can do?’ ”
Wyman sold key chains, purses, purses, which ranged in price from $15 to $40. She sells in stores in Lunenburg and Concord as well as at markets and fairs.
All the money goes to people with disabilities who work for minimum wage at a location in Stow.
“Your recorded tapes or your Bambi are in a bag now,” Wyman said.
The festival featured a designated area in the center of the park where visitors could drop off recyclable items such as cell phones, CDs, batteries, inkjet and toner cartridges, fluorescent bulbs, mercury and single-use plastic bags.
Gloucester-based company Black Earth Compost had a stand advertising its efforts to collect food scraps which it then processes at its sites in Framingham, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Groton.
Students from the Framingham High School Environmental Club also had a booth at the festival showcasing their efforts, in particular the planting of 270 trees in homes across the town.
“To make the biggest change, you need to focus on the small changes you can make in your own community, whether that’s planting trees or changing your diet,” said the club’s vice president. , Ella Downey. “We raise awareness in the whole community, raise funds to plant trees and also work with young elementary school students to teach them about protecting the environment.”
Superintendent Robert Tremblay was also at the festival on Saturday to talk about the accomplishments of the Framingham High School Environmental Club.
“The whole fair itself, having everyone together for the first time was just nice to see people outside and see all the faces, it’s just exciting,” Tremblay said. . “The festival is also a good opportunity for us to bring together the school committee, the school department and the high school environmental club, to kind of come together as a group.”
From the start, the festival grounds were packed with people going from vendor to vendor to buy produce or pet the alpacas brought in by a local family farm called Angel Hair Alpacas.
Local resident Alex Sullivan was on hand with his 3-year-old Hazel, walking to the art exhibits, watching the alpacas and enjoying the day.
“It’s a great day and I wanted to support local vendors,” Sullivan said. “I love that people can contribute to the community in this way.”
Toni Caushi is a multimedia journalist at the Daily News. He can be contacted at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @tcaushi.