Earth Day celebrated downtown

Earth+Day+is+April+22.+Photo+by+George+Sarafianos

Earth Day is April 22. Photo by George Sarafianos

Derek Wang

Earth Day. Photo by George Sarafianos
Photo by George Sarafianos

Despite being pushed back a week due to rain, the 2014 Earth Day celebration attracted a large crowd. A variety of booths offered visitors many opportunities to purchase goods such as jewelry, plants and even animal skins. RBHS Special Education teacher Ann Sullivan runs a booth at the festival selling jewelry that she made herself.

“This is my third year running a booth at the festival,” Sullivan said. “When it’s good weather, [the event] brings a lot of different types of people, young and old.”

Sullivan has been making her own jewelry for over 10 years, making stained glass and mosaic before jewelry. Sullivan said that although she gets to display her wares to the public, the Earth Day festival is not her biggest showing.

“Earth Day is not one of my better shows that I do,” Sullivan said. “Just mainly because of the type of crowd. They are not really here to buy excessively. However, I have an email fanbase and I have a lot of regular customers.”

The booths not only marketed a variety of purchasable items, but they also educated visitors on the importance of keeping the Earth healthy. Mark Dowd, one of two brothers who founded the company Son Solar Systems based in Hartsburg, Mo., has been coming to the Columbia Earth Day celebrations for three years.

“Our booth is kind of unique,” Dowd said. “We have power. We are running fans, we have a TV playing in [the booth], but we are not connected to the electric grid. We actually have a solar panel on top of the trailer that is actually powering up everything, keeping us very comfortable out here on a nice warm day just off of the sun.”

Dowd’s company installs solar panels that produce electricity along with solar powered water heaters onto peoples’ houses, generating all the power they need from the Sun. Dowd said coming to the Earth Day celebration is always fun and is a great way to advertise their services to a large amount of people.

“We actually have a really good customer that we met here a few years back,” Dowd said. “This customer has even come back to us for even more panels.They bought a Nissan Leaf, which is a car that is a plug-in electric car. It’s not a hybrid, it’s just a straight plug-in, so it runs off of batteries. We added more panels to their home, just within the last month or so, to power their car, so they are not paying for any gas.”

RBHS students said they enjoyed attending the festival and learning new things. Some even bring home a few souvenirs. Freshman Daniel Shi has been going to the festival for five years and enjoys browsing the booths for interesting items.

“My favorite booths are the ones selling rocks and minerals,” Shi said. “I think that Earth Science is interesting, and the booths give me a chance to experience it firsthand. [The festival] was a lot larger this year. Every year there are new booths, and it provides something exciting to do once a year.”

By Derek Wang