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Organizer of Panhandle Earth Day Celebration says event more of a community gathering

Stephanie Unger's vision includes music, good food and vendors promoting a variety of homemade items

April 23, 2011|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herad-mail.com
  • Jane DeNoble, left, Stephanie Unger, Panhandle Earth Day Celebration organizer, and Ella Murphy are pictured at the event Saturday at Morgans Grove Park.
By Richard Belisle, Staff Writer

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W,Va. — Earth Day shouldn't just be about "green, green, green," said Stephanie Unger, organizer of the annual Panhandle Earth Day Celebration on Saturday at Morgans Grove Park.

"It should be more of a celebration of the earth," she said.

Her thoughts run to a community type gathering with music, good food and vendors promoting a variety of save-the-earth-themed homegrown produce and homemade everything from cotton diapers from the Rosebud Diaper Boutique with its "Go Cloth, Go Green" slogan, to Space Lotus Studio's T-shirts and tapestries that have been "tied and dyed with love," cotton puppets and Journalistic Tendencies' notepads made from recycled paper.

A popular stop for kids was the Arts and Humanities Council of Jefferson County's tent where adults were teaching kids how to make "stink-bug catchers" out of sticks, tape and plastic water bottles.

Amber LaFage was taking care of things at the Collective Painting table where three empty canvases were laid out, two large ones for adults and a smaller one for children. People passing by were encouraged to apply their own creative impulses to the canvas, much like a friendship quilt. "Everyone gets a crack at it," LaFage said. Kids were using whatever they can find to paint with. "One used a dandelion, another a rubber duck and one a jar lid," LaFage said.

The paintings were to be sold at the end of the day, she said.

There were the usual denizens of an Earth Day festival — habitat-preserving, and community welfare groups like the Potomac Valley Audobon Society, the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club and West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services. The iLoveMountains.org folks were there to protest mountaintop removal and the Harpers Ferry Outdoor Festival was promoting its annual canoe and kayaking event set for June 11. The Shepherdstown Library was seeking ideas for a proposed new library building and representatives.

Unger said the festival has grown since it started in 2009. "We had 20 vendors the first year, 35 last year and this year 66 were lined up but the rain kept some away," she said. This year 12 bands and musicians took to the stage to entertain patrons throughout the day which ran from noon to 9 p.m.

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