An event fast becoming local tradition returns to Bishop City Park this Saturday, encouraging celebration of natural resources, healthy lifestyles and an engaged community.
Now in its fourth year, the Bishop Earth Day Celebration starts at 10 a.m. at the front of the park and runs until 4 p.m. Offered during those six hours will be the first annual “Sierra’s Got Talent” talent show, a recycled art competition, arts and crafts and dozens of booths of the educational and commercial variety.
Vendors specialize in eco-friendly and otherwise environmentally responsible products, ranging from natural, handmade soaps to rugs made out of recycled climbing ropes to curbside recycling to upcycled jewelry and artwork to fresh produce home delivery service.
Exhibitors include nonprofits and government agencies who work to protect, preserve and improve local habitats and wildlife, such as the Owens Valley Committee, Eastern Sierra Wildlife Rescue, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Sierra Nevada Bighorn Sheep Foundation.
There will also be food, of course, and at time of publication organizers were still putting together a menu of caterers and restaurateurs wanting to sell their fare at the park.
Live music will be provided once again by Joy Fatooh’s all-woman African percussion ensemble.
Beyond the cultural beats, the rest of the live entertainment will be provided by the variety of acts signed up for the talent show, which starts at 11 a.m.
According to chief organizer and event founder Dee Younger, sign-ups for Sierra’s Got Talent will be taken right up until show time. The entry fee is $5, which goes to support the charitable endeavors of the event sponsor, the Sunrise Rotary Club of Bishop. In exchange, performers have the chance to win more than $500 in cash prizes donated by Coso Operating Company.
Younger said spectators can expect acts that include instrumentalists, singers, duets, jugglers, a poet, high school students fresh off the success of Bishop Union High School’s talent show and possibly a middle-schooler doing stand-up comedy.
In addition to the talent show, Younger said he is excited by the number of new vendors joining returning favorites this year.
In particular, Kyle and Russ Markman will be unveiling their new electric bicycle and e-bike tour business. “That’s a fun new addition that the Chamber of Commerce can introduce to more people,” Younger said.
And David Herbst will be back with his interactive creekside display focusing on the value of aquatic ecosystems and protecting water resources. The kids loved his exhibit and “Dave couldn’t wait to come back,” Younger said, “and I’m really excited about that.”
Last year’s Earth Day event drew residents and visitors in the thousands and just as many if not more are expected this year.
“It’s early spring, people want to get out,” Younger said, offering one explanation for the event’s growing popularity.
Indeed, the event has grown significantly since the first year when it was held in the parking lot behind Fendon’s Furniture at East Pine and Central streets. From the beginning, it was always Younger’s vision to have Earth Day celebrated at Bishop City Park, and in 2011, the city and Sunrise Rotary got on board to help bring his dream to fruition.
“Today we have much greater participation. It feels great to be honest,” Younger said. “I haven’t been out pounding the pavement – people have just been walking in handing me applications” for vendor and booth space.
And from the beginning, Younger envisioned Earth Day as a fun event centered around spreading and celebrating awareness of environmentally-friendly and healthy lifestyles, and what the Eastern Sierra has to offer along those lines. Simply, Younger also wanted to create something for residents to do this time of year – “I wanted to bring the community together,” he said.
For more information, call (760) 872-4655 or visit www.bloggingbishop.com , where vendor and exhibitor sign-up forms are also available.
A comprehensive list of vendors and exhibitors will appear in a special Earth Day supplement being published with this Saturday’s edition of The Inyo Register.