Fun, food and information are key ingredients in Bishop’s second annual Earth Day, an eco-centric, awareness-raising celebration scheduled for 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 21 at Bishop City Park.
“Earth Day is sponsored by the Bishop Sunrise Rotary Club,” explained Dee Younger, Earth Day organizer and Rotarian. “It’s a great event and we want to really shine.” Younger said he hopes to showcase Bishop City Park’s newly improved grounds and amenities while raising awareness of proper stewardship of the earth. “It will be a big fun day using every aspect of Bishop City Park (except for the pool) to highlight what a wonderful park we have.”
This year’s Earth Day is an expansion of the successful first annual event in 2011.
“We want to honor Eastern Sierra Land Trust for getting this thing started,” said Younger. ESLToriginated the event under a different name, hosting it in 2009 and 2010. The first annual Earth Day was held at Fendon’s Furniture store parking lot.
Although 2012 Earth Day plans are still a work in progress, a veritable cornucopia of local talent, businesses and service organizations have already confirmed their participation at the City Park.
Bishop Sunrise Rotary Club, a philanthropic organization that, for example, gives $18,000 in scholarships annually, has already begun its commitment to earth/environmental awareness by providing a recycling bin year-round at the Charles Brown Auditorium at the Bishop County Fairgrounds.
By Younger’s estimation, 30 food, facts, fun and foraging booths and events have already committed their participation on Earth Day and there are more in the wings awaiting final confirmation. Anyone interested in participating should contact Younger at (760) 872-4655. Booth fees are $25 and $15 for non-profits.
The entertainment lineup will draw from Bishop’s ethnically diverse pool of talented musicians, singers, dancers and other performance artists. “There will (also) be lots of entertainment for kids since International Children’s Day (observed on June 1, since 1925) is around the same time,” said Younger. So far, 16 performers and competition events have been confirmed.
Earth Day visitors can enjoy myriad opportunities for fun and friendly competition. Over the Top, the human-powered Ferris wheel, children’s games organized by Jeff Griffiths, a Bocce ball clinic and co-ed softball and tennis tournaments are just a few of the events planned so far. Forest Service Interpretive Ranger John Louth will distribute booklets designed to inspire families to explore the abundant surrounding nature-scapes.
A wide variety of food booths will quench thirsts and fill bellies. The food booth vendors who have committed so far will offer menus that range from gourmet hot dogs and barbecue to whole organic food creations. Extra hungry Earth Day visitors may enter the pie-eating contest.
Environmental products and services booths, such as Kara’s Earth Natural Products and High Point Solar, will naturally be featured alongside those of other organizations. For example, Younger reported that solar and wind generator vendors will be there along with Praxis Associates, the company involved in the Digital 395 project.
Earth-friendly from start to finish, Sierra Conservation Project will provide recycling bins at the park.
“Recycling should be part of everyone’s every day life,” stated Younger, and “as of July 1, there will be new laws regulating recycling efforts.”
Bishop Dog Park fundraiser chairperson Cheryl McDermot and her committee are “planning a massive undertaking,” said Younger. The committee is putting the fun in fundraiser by including games, a raffle, a costume parade, wellness checks, grooming services, DNA testing and more canine-related activities and services. Funds will go toward establishing Bishop’s first dog park.
“We hope more educators get involved, too,” added Younger. “We want the kids involved, to know things like why we even recycle cans, newspapers and bottles.”
Rotary Club sponsors have also brought back the Earth Day T-shirt art contest this year. All art submissions must be submitted to BloggingBishop, 162 E. Pine St. in Bishop, by noon on Monday, April 16. The winner will be announced on April 18 on www.bloggingbishop.com . The winning design, chosen by local resident judges, will become this year’s official Earth Day event T-shirt. Be sure to check www.bloggingbishop.com  where contestants can find contest criteria to make sure their submission will be accepted.
On a final note, Younger said that the Earth Day committee “encourages towns people to ride their bikes to the celebration to cut down on parking issues and because it is (an) earth-friendly” mode of transportation.
Regardless of how attendees get to the City Park on April 21, Sunrise Rotary and Younger stress that everyone is welcome.
“The most satisfying thing for me is that people from outside the area come to have fun. Last year, a Lancaster resident and a visitor from rural Nevada came up and told me what a good time they had,” said Younger.