It has been an annual tradition since 1970 for earth-friendly artists, vendors and educators to gather together to demonstrate support for environmental protection through the worldwide event Earth Day.
Baton Rouge became a huge celebrator of the worldwide series in 1990, and on Sunday, will celebrate its 25th anniversary with a downtown festival like no other.
“It never rains on Louisiana Earth Day,” chair member Brenda Nixon said, adding that she is hoping the Capital City’s luck will extend through this year’s celebration.
With entertainment crafted for everyone in the community, this year’s festival features hands-on educational activities for all ages from noon to 5 p.m., and live entertainment on several stages from noon until 6 p.m., including a performance by Colin Lake, through a partnership with the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge as part of its Sunday in the Park series.
Nixon noted that there are some old favorites mixed in with some new performances. There are also event features that she said she believes festival-goers will demand come 2016.
Along with Lake, The Galvez Stage will also offer music performances by Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie, as well as the highly demanded return of festival favorite Marcia Ball.
Dance and fine song will be the unofficial theme of the Earth Arts Stage with performances by Fine Arts Bellydancers of Baton Rouge, Les Bons Sons, Tiger Tenors, Flamenco! The Dance Center and School of Performing Arts and Aloha Leilani Polynesian Dancers.
And finally, to keep the young people of Earth Day entertained, features of the Earth for Children Stage will be Chinese Dancers by Yang Guang, EBR Talented Music Students and Jazz Combo, a martial arts demonstration by Professional Karate Schools of America, a showcase by Tipitina’s Interns, and horse visitors with a presentation by Equine Advocates of the Felicianas.
Children will also get to meet a mythological fish when Vanessa Lewis makes her stop at Earth Day as Vanessa the Mermaid. She will speak on Louisiana conservation, coastal preservation, Louisiana waterways and sportsmans’ paradise.
While the expanded selection of Earth Day entertainment seeks to attract patrons, the overall mission is to foster both individual and corporate environmental awareness and action through creative exhibits and activities produced by more than 400 volunteers.
This year’s theme is “Celebrate & Educate.”
Nixon said the mission and theme seeks to encourage both individual and corporate environmental awareness and conservation.
“We believe in personal responsibility and that means informing people of the things that they can do, and the latest research,” Nixon said. “It’s a shared responsibility, but mainly, personal activism — taking care of our own state.”
To further promote its message of personal responsibility, the festival will have several booths dedicated to educating the public on earth-friendly things.
Among the booths will be varying exhibitions and vendors promoting and educating the public about organic products, alternative fuel vehicles, bike safety, recycling and more.
Nixon said she is excited about the seed and plant swap joining the downtown festivities, as it normally takes place off-site. Patrons may visit the tent to trade seeds and plants, while experts from the Capital Area Native Plant Society and Herb Society of America, Baton Rouge Unit, will be available to answer questions.
To further promote the earth mission, patrons are encouraged to bike to the festival. Bike valets will be on-hand to park and monitor bicycles.
Louisiana Earth Day continues to grow, and Nixon, who has been with the promoting organization for 24 of its 25 years, said she has watched the growth in amazement.
“It’s really become a well-oiled machine because of the people who are involved,” Nixon said. “When someone passes the baton on, someone else picks it right up and continues on.”
Nixon further hopes that all of Louisiana will grab the baton and join the earth-friendly mission.
Noon-1:30 p.m.: Colin Lake
2 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: Marcia Ball
4 p.m.-6 p.m.: Geno Delafose & French Rockin’ Boogie
Earth Arts Stage
Noon-2 p.m.: Fine Arts Bellydancers of Baton Rouge
2 p.m.-3 p.m.: Les Bons Sons
3 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: Tiger Tenors
3:30 p.m.-4 p.m.: Flamenco! The Dance Center and School of Performing Arts
4 p.m.-4:30 p.m.: Aloha Leilani Polynesian Dancers
Earth for Children Stage
12:15 p.m.: Chinese Dancers by Yang Guang
1 p.m.: EBR Talented Music Students and Jazz Combo
2:30 p.m.: Martial Arts Demonstration: Professional Karate Schools of America
3:15 p.m.: Tipitina’s Interns
4:15 p.m.: Horse Visitors and Presentation by Equine Advocates of the Felicianas