Earth Day may be a month away, but Earth Fest is Sunday and it’s a perfect time to celebrate the environment and all we have to enjoy and protect in St. Tammany.

And what better place to do so than in an area long known for the healing properties of its water and environment, Abita Springs.

The seventh annual Earth Fest will be from noon to 5 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day at the Abita Springs Tourist Park, 22049 Main St. The green-themed festival is free and will feature music, food and activities, including crafts, games for children and trees.

There will be a farmers market with locally produced foods and handmade goods. Green vendors are given first priority for booths, and all merchandise sold must be handmade or grown. Music, food, and activities will be provided by Friends of the Park.

Entertainment includes, at noon, the Abita Middle Fiddle Club; 12:30 p.m., Northshore Irish Dance Academy; 1:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m., Beale St. Band; 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Big Easy Playboys; and 3:45 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., Fontainebleau High Jazz Band.

Friends of the Park will help visitors “take home some green” by giving free sapling trees and shrubs to those who pre-register for Earth Fest site on Eventbrite or sign up for membership. Membership is $30 a year for Friends of the Park, a group that describes itself as “green-minded individuals who care about the preservation of our greenspaces and the upkeep of our lovely park.” There also will be hourly giveaways between the live music.

Saplings will include native trees such as sassafras, sweet pecan, mayhaw and river birch; and shrubs such as shoebutton, wahoo, possomhaw and sweetshrub.

Abita Springs Friends of the Park is a nonprofit organization founded in 2007. Its purpose is to identify, fund and implement greenspace improvements in the town of Abita Springs and providing healthful activities and cultural programs that enrich the lives of the community.

The Friends are working to complete a handicap access path and have raised more than $30,000 of the $50,000 needed to increase accessibility at the park.

Friends of the Park also needs volunteers at the games, demonstrations, food, drinks and welcome stations. Volunteer shifts are available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 3 to 6 p.m. Service hours also are available. For information, call volunteer coordinator Rachel Lambert at (985) 373-7922 or or visit

“You can also stop by the FOP booth that day and we will ‘plug you in,’ ” Lambert said.

For St. Patrick’s Day activities in St. Tammany, see page 4.

Sharon Edwards is community news editor for The New Orleans Advocate.