The Phoenix Reporter and Item (http://www.phoenixvillenews.com)

Berks County celebrates Earth Day, event powered ‘off the grid'


Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Berks County Earth Day Celebration will hold its 25th annual event onSunday, April 21, rain or shine, at Riverfront Park from 11:30a.m. to 7p.m. New additions this year include aFarmer’s Market and Art Contest. The entire event will once again be powered “off the grid” using only sunlight,battery storage, and people power.
The free Earth Day event will feature a Farmer’s Market with a variety of vendors.
Fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, honey, and other items will be available for purchase.
Replacing the annual Poetry contest this year will be an Art Contest with submissions from the area’s 6ththrough 8th grades. Winning selections will be displayed in the Children’s Tent during the event. Three $100 artstore gift cards will be awarded for first place. Second and third place winners will also be chosen from eachgrade level, with cash or gift card prizes being award to each. Local artists Bruce Becker and Sandra Kaye willjudge the entries. Becker is an internationally recognized oil painter. He is best known for his painting, Kindnessand Compassion and book of the same name, about the Amish schoolhouse shootings in 2006. Kaye is afused glass and portrait artist with more than 25 years experience. Her work has been exhibited across thecountry and has received numerous awards.
The off-the-grid system, introduced at last year’s event, was conceived and constructed by Jim Crater, presidentof Recycling Services, Inc. (RSI), a nonprofit recycling and energy center in Pottstown. It features a solar array,lead acid batteries from Deka, and recycled exercise equipment. Attendees are encouraged to try the systemfor themselves and contribute their “power” to the event.
Returning this year will be music by local artists, children activities, workshops, demonstrations, exhibits, andinteractive displays for all ages. Exhibits will include information on energy and water conservation, alternativeenergy and alternative vehicles, land use, gardening, clean air and water, non-toxic chemicals for home andgardens, composting, recycling, sewage sludge, and environmentally aware businesses. Visitors can look forwardto some familiar favorites, including Pocono Snake and Animal Farm. There will also be food availablefor purchase. This year’s vendors include Stephan’s Concessions and Good Eatz Green Café.While exhibitsand activities will conclude at 5p.m., music on the main stage will continue until 7p.m.
Canned food items and other non-perishable foods will be collected at the Information Booth to benefit OpportunityHouse. Attendees are encouraged to bring used inkjet cartridges to the Cartridge World booth, and carbatteries, which Deka/East Penn Manufacturing will collect along Riverfront Drive. Raffle tickets for eco-friendlyproducts and services will be available to purchase at the Information Booth.
This year’s event was made possible through sponsors: the City of Reading,Recycling Services, Inc., 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Deka Batteries, Recycling Services, Inc., Giorgio Foods, Inc., Enersys,Boxaroo, Fromm Electric Supply, Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks, Reading Community Players,C.F. Heckman & Son, Inc., Berks Digital, Kittatinny Group of the Sierra Club, Scott E. Roseberry DDS, M.J. ReiderAssociates, and Rossello Design.
The Berks County Earth Day Committee is a 501c3 non-profit organization registered under theBerks Recycling Coalition. BCDEC is a group of volunteers whose sole mission is to organize a yearly event tocommemorate Earth Day. For more information, visit www.earthdayberks.org orwww.facebook.com/earthdayberks.