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Word to mother Earth

UNCG students and community members celebrate Earth Day in Foust Park

Published: Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010 09:01

The Earth Day sun was shining brightly on her UNCG children Wednesday afternoon at the BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket) Earth Day celebration. It was a Ferris Bueller kind of day; a few puffy nimbus clouds and a bright blue sky. Not surprisingly, more than a few kids (and adults) who should’ve been in class, were lollygagging around to some tunes and fresh fruit in Foust Park.

Not that everyone was ditching, but all the festival fun must’ve proved too tempting for at least one of the smiling, dancing, festival attendees. There was food, music, face-painting, and (of course)Frisbee.

Our Horse Jethro opened up the music with a warm reception on a stage in the shadow of the Graham building. Up next were top-notch musicians, Eating The Invaders, a group with a grit-tastic sound landing somewhere between honky-tonk, heartache, and hell-raising; a must-see for anyone staying around the area this summer.

The headlining seven gentlemen of Holy Ghost Tent Revival (HGTR) rocked out with ragtime flair. Their instruments ranged from piano, banjo, euphonium, and back again. Invader’s Marshall Owen filled in for an absent Patrick Leslie on bass. Owen’s voice is notably higher than Leslie’s, but Owen’s musicianship shone as he nailed bass lines and vocal cues with uncanny precision.

The boys in HGTR incorporated a weird, old-time, new-school feel into both their appearance and sound. With fast-paced drunken apologies in the form of lyrics, their songs have a quality suited superbly for dancing. They made the crowd get up and move, especially when accompanied by the rest of Eating the Invaders for a ripping performance.

In between sets, two WUAG DJ’s kept the groove going, shooting a late-1980s, early-1990s hip-hop tone into the atmosphere.

In an Earth Day vibe, power for the main stage was provided by a rust-bucket solar powered van. The 1980s model Econoline with rust-colored paint, rusty aluminum bumpers, and balding tires didn’t look like much at first glance. But, the big metal panels welded to its roof provided enough power to fuel the entire show, even as the clouds rolled in.

Some lucky students were able to dig the tunes and be in class at the same time. Biology classes had booths set-up, spreading the word of bees and turtles, two of Mother Nature’s special creatures. The bee class buzzed about bee habits while leaving a hive of hundreds of living bees on display.

Meanwhile, the turtle kids had turtle fossils and wicked cute plush turtle dolls that were given as donation rewards. Another booth, featuring live creatures, was maintained by a nice compost lady who peddled bait worms and handed out pamphlets one how to start one’s very own compost pile.

Foust Park was filled with people doing some crazy things like building human pyramids, carrying people over their heads, and generally running amuck. The recycled face-paint booth ensured that peace signs and little earths abounded from cheek to cheek. Some kids took to the painting so much, they shed their shirts and turned their torsos into Earth Day murals.

The Earth Day celebration wasn’t just for UNCG. It was for the community. A Proximity Hotel representative handed out brochures about the illustriously “green” establishment. Across the field, the Greensboro Transit Authority forked over bags and lanyards in exchange for a commitment to use public transportation.

Meanwhile, sweet sustenance was provided by the Goat Lady’s delicious cheese and crackers, a guy slinging locally grown organic strawberries, and a farm boot which housed fresh fruit and candied pecans for sale, yum.

A little part of Tate Street assembled itself in front of an eco-friendly Tee Pee. Tate Street Coffee had a tent manned by an attendant who looked like a Mario Brother. Design Archives’ booth was bejeweled with crazy amount of costume jewelry. The folks from the Bike collective were also present, hooking people up with bikes and spreading the glories of pedaled transport.

UNCG students and members of the community celebrated Earth Day with much vigor. The festival has grown considerably over the years, so be on the lookout next year for another, even bigger, Earth-friendly goodtime.

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