Earth Day 2012: A weekend of environmentally friendly fun

photo by Jen Bowen
photo by Jen Bowen

Asheville loves Earth Day, and this year is no exception. Celebrate with jam-packed street festivals, a wild plant walk and films about the environment, just to name a few.

Thursday, April 19

Kick off Earth Day a few days early at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival, hosted by the Western North Carolina Alliance. The Fine Arts Theatre, 36 Biltmore Ave., will screen 14 short films on everything from activism to land preservation during this one-day festival, a first for Asheville. Screenings will take place 7-10 p.m. on Thursday. Cost: $10/general admission; $6/students. Info: http://wnca.org.

Friday, April 20

ECO, the Environmental & Conservation Organization, encourages everyone to ditch their car and pick up discounts on dinner, books, toys and more throughout Hendersonville. To get in on Strive Not to Drive deals, stop by Black Bear Coffee Co., Dancing Bear Toys, Fountainhead Bookstore or other environmentally friendly shops in Hendersonville. Specials offered throughout the day; discounted prices vary. Info, registration and list of locations: http://eco-wnc.org or 692 0385.

Saturday, April 21

The Asheville Earth Day Festival will take over North Lexington Avenue this year with eco-friendly speakers, activities for kids and performances by Mark Farina Mushroom Jazz, The New Orleans Suspects, Underhill Rose and others. Members of LEAF in Schools and Streets will show off their talents, and an eco-village will highlight environmentally friendly nonprofits. The fun runs noon to 10 p.m., so bring the kids for the day and leave them at home for a raucous night of eco fun. Free; VIP passes are $20 (plus a service charge). Info: http://avlearthday.org.

Warren Wilson College continues its hands-on dedication to the environment with Earth Day workshops on everything from native plants, beekeeping and “mindful” gardening, plus field trips and more, 8 a.m.-4 p.m., on the Warren Wilson campus. The overlapping Fiddles & Folklife celebration will run noon-5 p.m. in the college’s Bryson Gym, featuring old-time music competitions, jam sessions, cakewalks, horse-drawn wagon rides and more. Free (though some workshops have a small materials fee). For a full list of events, go to http://avl.mx/d0.

At Brevard College EarthFest, you can meet adorable animals from Earthshine Nature Programs, take kids on a creek walk to learn about water quality and enter to win a free rain barrel. A contra dance kicks off the weekend from 8 to 10 p.m. on Friday, April 20, on the Dunham stage. On Saturday, April 21, the Porter Center will celebrate the environment with food, games and information booths throughout the day. Free. Info: http://avl.mx/dn.

Get ready for an afternoon of recycled art projects, live music and seed bombs (little bundles of soil and seeds that can be thrown anywhere for quick and easy planting) at the Hendersonville Community Co-op’s Earth Day Celebration. The co-op’s parking lot at 715 S. Grove St. will overflow with fresh food and local beer from noon to 5 p.m. Free. Info: www.hendersonville.coop or 693-0505.

At a green-themed Super Science Saturday at The Health Adventure (noon to 2 p.m.), you can learn the answers to questions like “Can you grow a seed without soil?” and “How does acid rain affect the environment?” UNCA students will lead hands-on recycling activities for kids of all ages at the museum, now located at Biltmore Square Mall at 800 Brevard Road, Suite 620, in Asheville. Programs are free with admission ($9.50 adults/$6.50 children under 16). Info: www.thehealthadventure.org

Discover which wild plants make great medicine or food (and which ones to avoid) at a Wild Plant Walk at 10 a.m., hosted by ECO. Naturalist Michele Skeele will teach novices and experienced plant-gatherers alike how to enjoy the incredible diversity of Western North Carolina. Fee: $15. Info, registration and departure location: http://eco-wnc.org or 692 0385.,

What do diapers and Guinness World Records have to do with Earth Day? Nest, a local organic home and baby store, hopes to make the connection through The Great Cloth Diaper Change, along with 250 other stores in 11 countries. The goal is to break the world record for the most number of cloth diapers changed at the same time. Parents and their babies are invited to meet at the store, 51 N. Lexington Ave. in Asheville, at noon for the big change-off. The event is free, but a donation to the Real Diaper Association is encouraged. Info: www.nestorganics.com or greatclothdiaperchange.com.

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