Weather doesn’t deter Earth Day attendees

CAROL STREAM – Despite cold and damp weather, about 500 people came out for the annual Earth Day Festival and Farmers Market in Carol Stream last weekend.

“It went pretty well. It was chilly but sunny,” said Julie Mason Vogl, director of marketing services for the Carol Stream Park District, which helps organize the event each year. “We had some Earth-friendly activities there. We also had lots of vendors with eco-friendly products.”

Vogl said more than local 25 vendors set up areas to display their products. The activities offered engaged children and adults alike, she said.

“New activities this year include the chance to make your own tote bag from recycled plastic bags, a reptile show, touch a tractor and the first 100 children will be able to make a wooden toolbox in the Home Depot Kids Craft Corner and two dozen vendors will be selling everything from cherry salsa to handmade soap in this year’s Farmers Market,” according to a news release issued prior to the festival.

The village of Carol Stream was scheduled to participate in the event by holding a recycling drive, but the heavy rains that flooded parts of the community last week forced officials to cancel, said Chris Oakley, assistant to the village manager for Carol Stream.

“The area where the festival and Farmers Market were being held was pretty wet,” Oakley said. “Given that we were still responding to situations concerning the flood, we thought it best to cancel this year. We have rescheduled our recycling event for the fall.”

The number of people who attended the Earth Day Festival and Farmers Market mirrored attendance at the event last year, and attendance has been growing the past few years, Vogl said.

The 2010 festival attracted about 100 people. The park district partnered with the Cool Cities Coalition Carol Stream in 2011, and additional activities scheduled last year drew hundreds of residents, she said.

The weather may have thwarted one aspect of the event, but the spirit of those who attended wasn’t chilled, Vogl said.

“This event is the first sign of spring,” Vogl said. “It’s the first Farmers Market of the season, and this gets people pretty excited. ... Last year’s event was damp as well. But people still had a great time.”