Celebrate spring: Local events for Earth Day and beyond

Welcome to spring: With outdoor stages, vendors, local foods and children’s activities, Jackson County’s Greening Up the Mountains Festival makes for a full day of fun in the sun. The festival, one of several springtime celebrations happening this week, will be held Saturday, April 25, in downtown Sylva. Photo courtesy of the Town of Sylva

Earth Day falls on Wednesday, April 22, this year, but with the bees buzzing, the flowers blooming and the sun shining all around us, why spend just one day celebrating the beautiful environment in Western North Carolina? Here’s a roundup of some of the environmentally focused events happening throughout WNC this week, though you can also find more by flipping through Clubland and the Community Calendar. Get out there and enjoy spring!

Asheville Earth Week 2015

This year’s Asheville Earth Day has expanded into a 10-day celebration of green living and sustainability culminating in a downtown clean-up and after party on Wednesday, April 22. Wild South, Asheville GreenWorks and the Asheville Downtown Association will host the cleanup starting at Pritchard Park from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Earth Day Celebration (aka the cleanup after-party) kicks off at New Mountain’s Sol Bar at 5 p.m. and features music by Drew Emmitt of Leftover Salmon. Free; avlearthday.org

Chimney Rock State Park Earth Day Celebration

The park’s festivities have an educational focus as naturalists, biologists and other environmentalists host exhibits designed to encourage stewardship and environmental knowhow. The event also features games, animal ambassadors, live music by park musician and hammered dulcimer player John Mason and presentations by Friends of the WNC Nature Center, the N.C. Arboretum, N.C. Clean Air, the Nature Conservancy, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy and more. The event is held in Chimney Rock Village and runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 25. Free; chimneyrockpark.com

Earth Day film and panel

Organic Growers School and Green Opportunities will host a screening of Growing Cities, a documentary about urban farming, at Lenior Rhyne’s Asheville campus on Wednesday, April 22. The documentary follows filmmakers Dan Susman and Andrew Monobouquette as they road-trip across America interviewing urbanites who grow and distribute food from vacant lots, rooftop gardens and backyard plots. A panel discussion will follow the screening. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.; film begins at 7 p.m.; admission by donation; organicgrowersschool.org

House of Balance Earth Day Festival

House of Balance, a new nonprofit focusing on arts and agriculture, will host a pop-up festival in New Mountain’s outdoor space from 1 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, April 22. The event promises live music, local food trucks, dancing and vendors offering everything from metalsmith art to henna to tinctures. Free to attend with donations encouraged; houseofbalance.weebly.com/events.html

Riverlink’s Earth Day Children’s Festival

Crafts, face painting, educational lessons, games, food and a chance to responsibly ditch those hard-to-recycle electronic items — it’s all available at Riverlink’s children’s festival. The event, co-sponsored by FLS Energy, takes place at RiverLink Performance Park in the River Arts District from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 22. Free; riverlink.org

Greening Up the Mountains

The town of Sylva will hold its 18th annual spring festival, Greening Up the Mountains, on Saturday, April 25. The event is a celebration of fine arts and crafts, local music and environmental protection efforts, drawing an estimated 10,000 people to the tiny mountain town every year. The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free to attend; greeningupthemountains.org

Growin’ in the Mountains

Sponsored by the Blue Ridge Horticultural Assocation, Growin’ in the Mountains is one of the biggest plant sales of the season. The event, held at the WNC Farmers Market, brings together over 40 nurseries from throughout the Southern Appalachians and the Piedmont. The sale runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, April 24, and Saturday, April 25. Free to attend; brhorticulture.org

Spring Festival at the Farm

Johnson Farm, the heritage education center and historic property located in Henderson County, will hold its spring festival on Saturday, April 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to the exploration and adventure opportunities offered by the site’s 15 acres of forest, fields and streams, the festival will feature dancers, live music, sheep- shearing, a craft sale and tractor rides. $5 adults, $4 students; 891-6585

Wild edibles hike

Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy will hold a “Foraging Sustainably” wild edibles hike through the Highlands of Roan on Tuesday, April 28, starting at 10 a.m. Hike leaders will discuss and demonstrate responsible foraging practices including how to protect the plant’s natural habitat and the forest ecosystem. But wait, it gets better — this sustainability lesson takes place among the hardwood forests, open meadows and stunning vistas of the Highlands. $10, free for SAHC members; registration required; appalachian.org

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About Carrie Eidson
Multimedia journalist and Green Scene editor at Mountain Xpress. Part-time Twitterer @mxenv but also reachable at ceidson@mountainx.com. Follow me @carrieeidson

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