Back in 1970, a single U.S. Senator decided he’d seen enough evidence to determine our country needed a day to remind all its citizens how important our environment is to the safety and well-being of those who inhabit it. Americans heard the call and twenty-million people joined in the very first Earth Day demonstration. For this, Senator Gaylord Nelson was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the land. Fast forward to 1990 when Indiana decided it was their time to shine. During this year, the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, Hoosiers put together an annual celebration in downtown Indianapolis and shortly thereafter created Earth Day Indiana, a non-profit filled with dedicated individuals and companies looking to save the planet. Now, Earth Day 2017 is upon us and Hoosiers are answering the call for climate change now more than ever.
On April 22, Historic Military Park at White River State Park will host the 2017 Earth Day Indiana Festival where folks of all ages can help support a cause that’s near and dear to many Hoosier’s hearts, for free! From 11am to 4pm, over 125 exhibitors will set up on the lush lawn of Military Park ranging from local businesses, to non-profits, to governmental groups and community organizations all with the focus of educating the public on various environmental issues and ways they can contribute to the cause. Alongside these vendors will be plenty of other activities including local restaurants like Pure Eatery in Fountain Square and Byrne’s Grilled Pizza near Butler. For the adults, Chilly Water Brewery from Fountain Square and Ash & Elm Cider Co. on the Near Eastside will be in tow serving up delicious, refreshing local brews and ciders. For the kiddos, a veritable mix of activities will be on hand to keep their minds engaged and their interests peaked. In the Children’s Tent, a stage will be set up with local musicians like Bill Bailey and The Hamiltons plus they’ll find plenty of games and crafts throughout the festival as well. A full day of performances will be set up on the main stage for both kids and adults. Musicians such as Noble Roots, The Hammer and the Hatchet and Melodious Thonk will all perform.
The festival has also put together a 5K Run/1-Mile Walk. Entry is $30 for the run and $25 for the walk, both of which will take you on a scenic trip throughout downtown and along the stunning White River Canal leading straight to the festivities at Military Park. Parking for both the festival and the run/walk is available at surface lots at IUPUI for just $6.
Along with this year’s festival will be the first annual March for Science. This nation-wide event was put together by groups of scientists and science-advocates with the aim of “defend(ing) the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments.” The group’s robust agenda includes helping fund science organizations that do research that they hope will reach the desks of political leaders and policymakers in Washington D.C. and beyond. While the main march will take place in the capital, there are a huge number of satellite marches taking place across the country in big cities and small towns alike. Indiana will host five marches in Evansville, Lafayette, Terre Haute, South Bend and of course downtown Indianapolis. On April 22 at 10am, thousands of science supporters will gather at the Indiana Statehouse and walk towards, you guessed it, the Earth Day Indiana Festival at Military Park.
Both the Earth Day Indiana Festival and the March for Science have joined forces this year to promote what organizers believe is the biggest issue of our lifetime; the health of our planet and the science that supports it. Stop by the happenings, bring a sign and make sure your voice is heard in this ever-growing movement!