By Katie Foote, Epicure & Culture Contributor
Earth Day events might seem like excuses for college students to host “Do It In The Dark” or for children to plant trees; but the holiday is also a reminder that the world is plagued with serious environmental issues, and that we must do something about it.
Earth Day was founded in 1970 by US senator Gaylord Nelson, who wanted to raise environmental awareness among Americans, especially after the massive 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara. On the first Earth Day, 20 million Americans across the country participated in peaceful demonstrations. They protested against various environmental hazards, such as polluting factories, raw sewage and pesticides. Twenty years later, in 1990, Earth Day went global. Over 200 million people voiced their environmental concerns in rallies organized across the world. April 22nd remains an important reminder to conserve and protect our planet.
In 2017, honor the planet with a variety of sustainable food, yoga and educational festivals, as well as opportunities for activism. Meanwhile, several organizations in the US host green Earth Day events throughout the year (because your efforts shouldn’t last only a day!).
To help you plan how you’ll make a different this year, check out these awesome Earth Day events around the USA.
1) Yoga & Outdoor Activities
Gulf Shores, Alabama
Gulf State Park is hosting the Awakened Life Yoga Festival from April 21-23. This annual yoga retreat is a family-friendly celebration that allows you to experiment with a variety of practices, including Power Vinyasa, Buti, Acro, Restorative, Kundalini and more. Guests can camp or stay in cabins and choose daily, single or weekend passes.
Improving your awareness is a wonderful way to honor the Earth. Besides doing yoga, you can also soak up the best of the state park with paddle boarding, kayaking and cycling. In the evening, wind down with good music and performances by regional stars.
Love some healthy competition? Part of the Earth Day events this year include a playful relay race with obstacle courses, where proceeds go to the Gulf Coast Youth Mindfulness Project, a non-profit youth empowerment organization focused on improving the well-being of local children and teens.
2) Vegan Eating & Activism
Celebrate healthy and sustainable living with Berkeley’s 7th Annual Berkeley Vegan Earth Day on April 17, 2017. Compassionate Living, a non-profit organization based in Sonoma County, promotes sustainable food, eco-friendly product vendors and opportunities for activism. Also feed your brain with educational talks from conversation experts, nutritionists, activists and more.
You can attend the event for early bird pricing of $16 or just $20 on the day.10 awesome ways to celebrate #EarthDay2017 and help save the planet. Check them out! Click To Tweet
3) Mountain Celebrations of Local Businesses
Sylvia, North Carolina
Sylvia may not be a major city, but their Greening up the Mountains Spring Festival draws thousands of visitors each year. This festival celebrates the springtime renewal and revitalization of North Carolina’s mountains. With more than 200 booths, you’ll be able to visit various arts, craft, retail, and artisan food vendors. Feast your eyes on beautiful paintings and pottery, locally-made soaps, jewelry, granolas and stained glass ornaments.
The day kicks off with a 5K run/walk, followed by live music and educational activities promoting environmental protection and local businesses. The farmer’s market is open all day, selling fresh, locally grown treats including baked goods, coffee, spices and herbal remedies.
Greening up the Mountains runs from 10 AM to 4 PM on April 22, 2017.
4) Sustainability & Viniculture
Wine Country, California
Wine Country is dedicating a whole month to honoring sustainable wine growing and wine making. The Wine Institute — which represents almost 1,000 California vineyards — created Down to Earth Month to pay tribute to Earth Day and innovation in sustainable wine making. In April, wineries across the state will engage visitors with dozens of fun Earth Day events and activities to learn more about California’s eco-friendly wine making industry. From dog-friendly vineyard hikes to sustainable wine and food tastings, your April visit to California vineyards will be unforgettable.
Down to Earth Month is coordinated by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance, a partnership between Wine Institute and the California Association of Wine grape Growers
5) Celebrating Green Space
Every year, hundreds of exhibitors and between 10,000 and 50,000 attendees participate in Cleveland’s EarthFest, making it one of the longest-standing and most successful celebrations in the US. In 2017, the event will highlight the city’s newly renovated Public Square, which was designed by the same landscape architect as New York’s High Line. The day includes Green Space workshops, free tree giveaways, biodiesel-powered amusement park rides, chef demonstrations, eco-activities and more.
The festival will be held at Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds on Saturday, April 22 from 10am-5pm. Adult admission costs $8 but can be free if you ride your bicycle, take public transportation or support Earth friendly non-profits.
6) Music Concert in an Outdoor Amphitheater
If you love music and the outdoors, the best way for you to celebrate Earth Day might be a concert with The Revivalists at Infinity Downs Farm (their music video for “Wish I Knew You” reaching over 1.5 million views on YouTube!). Infinity Downs Farm is an outdoor amphitheater with numerous hiking and biking trails and a beaver pond. The owners are committed to preserving the natural beauty of the land and the habitat, also working with local farmers, restaurants, wineries and craft brewers for locally sourced food and beverage concessions.
This Earth Day event will also feature local non-profits, interactive family activities, educational workshops, and more.Help save the planet with these fun and eco-friendly #EarthDay2017 events in the #US. Click To Tweet
7) Earth Festival and Rally
San Francisco, California
San Francisco is a hot spot for Earth Day events, with a full day festival and rally. The happening includes musical entertainment, panel discussions and speakers, an organic celebrity chef showcase, organic and vegan food courts, wine and beer gardens, a clean energy zone, earth-friendly product vendors, an electric vehicle showcase, a kids zone and a hugely popular silent disco. The event unites hundreds of environmentally conscious non-profits, concerned citizens, community leaders and eco activist to raise environmental awareness and educate people.
Mariam from TourMega has tips for making the most of your visit to the San Francisco Earth Day festival. For example, local restaurants, bars, hotels and yoga studios offer discounts on April 22 and there’s extra perks if Earth Day coincides with your birthday.
San Francisco’s free Earth Festival & Rally runs from 10am to 6pm on April 22, 2017 at the San Francisco Civic Center Plaza.
8) Coastline Cleanup
If you would like to join the one billion people worldwide celebrating Earth Day but prefer to do it from a quieter location, check out Mystic Aquarium in quaint Mystic. For 2017, they’ve got a full lineup of events. On Saturday, visit the aquarium to learn practical strategies to reduce your environmental impact. Then the next day, join their visit to Bluff Point State Park in Groton for a party by the coast and an educational beach cleanup alongside Aquarium staff.Love outdoor fun and #festivals? Here's how you should celebrate #EarthDay2017. Click To Tweet
9) Enjoy The Outdoors
Four Oaks, North Carolina
Celebrate nature and get outdoors this Earth Day with Howell Woodstock in Johnston County. The Howell Woods Environmental Learning Center — which includes 2,856 acres of property — will host a day of live music, hayrides, local vendors and birding hikes. The day will end with a campfire, delicious s’mores and star gazing. The property is actively managed for the benefit of wildlife, with 25 miles of unpaved roads and trails along the Neuse River.
This free event will take place on April 22nd.
10) Personal Celebration with a Mountain Retreat
If you’re not into crowds and action-packed events, consider an eco-friendly retreat in the mountains. White Cap Lodge is a sustainable ski-in, ski-out retreat in the Warrior’s Mark area. You’ll be able to enjoy amenities like a gourmet kitchen, outdoor hot tub, gas fireplace and incredible balcony views with minimal environmental impact. The home fits nine people, so you can plan a private party to celebrate the Earth, maybe shut off the lights and light some candles, and enjoy one of the last ski weekends of the season.
What other Earth Day events would you add to the list? Please share in the comments below!
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