11th Annual Whole Earth and Watershed Festival
● By Jon Lewis
By Jon Lewis
Healthy living can lead to a healthier planet, and a healthy community is conducive to healthier living.
There’s a connection between the three, and it’s the guiding force for organizers of the 11th annual Whole Earth and Watershed Festival that takes place on Earth Day at Redding City Hall.
“From the outset, we wanted this to be a big tent,” says Peggy Rebol of First United Methodist Church, one of the festival sponsors. “For the last couple of years, we’ve really honed in on those three elements—healthy living,
healthy communities and a healthy planet—and how interconnected we are with what happens in our environment. We don’t want to put the environment in a box somewhere; we want to show how we interact with the environment and how we need to interact with it.”
For the first time in its 11-year history, the festival actually falls on Earth Day (Saturday, April 22) and organizers plan to tap into the energy from that fortuitous synchronization. The festival, which attracted an estimated 5,000 people last year, will feature more than 130 exhibitors stationed around City Hall and the adjoining Sculpture Park. Among the represented will be agencies, educational organizations, artists, nonprofits and businesses.
The idea, Rebol says, is to bring people, organizations and diverse perspectives together for dialogue and action that can help shift the North State toward a sustainable future—and have some fun along the way.
Attendees can pick up a passport and go on a Whole Earth Walkabout, checking out booths in six areas—Grassland & Savannah, Mountain & Forest, Desert & Tundra, Ocean & Sea, Watershed & River and Rainforest & Jungle—and become eligible for prizes awarded throughout the day.
Early arrivers looking for some exercise can participate in the Whole Earth Hustle, a 5-kilometer run/walk that takes participants along the new Henderson Open Space trails. The 9:30 am event benefits Friends of the Redding Trails and Trails and Bikeways Council of Greater Redding.
Runners and walkers can refuel at the variety of food vendors at the festival. In keeping with the day’s theme, water fountains will be available to fill reusable water bottles and volunteers with Shasta Living Streets will again be behind the taps at a beer garden in the fountain bar, serving locally brewed craft beers and Italian sodas.
The fountain bar will be located, appropriately enough, next to the fountain. The fountain, though, will be decommissioned for the day to accommodate the stage for what Rebol calls “a music festival within the festival.”
Miracle Mile Records, a Redding-based record label and artists’ collective, again will handle the musical entertainment on the fountain stage. This year, thanks to steady growth with both the label and the Whole Earth festival, there are enough resources to bring in a full-fledged headline act: The Brothers Comatose.
“We’re very excited about that,” says Jonathan Foster, the Miracle Mile Records founder. “I believe it’s the first time they’ve played in the area. They’re a San Francisco band and kind of a fun success story. They have done really well for themselves touring across the country. They have a cult following and they put on a high-energy show.”
The Brothers Comatose will cap off the daylong lineup of live music that features local favorites like the Buckhorn Mountain Stompers, Jim Dyar, Brendon Alvord, Honeybee, the Nick Ciampi Band, Merit Parcel and Mark Perko.
“This one truly is for all ages. We’re hoping there will be more dancing for kids of all ages. We’re just crossing our fingers for a sunny day,” Foster says.
The Community Stage, located in the Sculpture Park, will feature student groups from the Redding School of the Arts and other schools as well as solo and duo acts. “People will have some really high-quality music to listen to,” Rebol says.
Activities available at the festival promise to compete with the music. For youngsters, eight separate hands-on activities, ranging from bees and ants to bubbles and habitats, will be featured in the Whole Earth Children’s Zone. The Children’s Zone is sponsored by First 5 Shasta and is part of the Week of the Young Child.
Slightly older kids can enter the STEAM tent (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) and investigate some “tapigami” (creating objects with tape), build birdhouses, check out a virtual reality station and join a take-a-party and, well, take things apart.
Older kids and adults can stop by the Whole Earth Innovation Tent and enjoy a full day of short, practical talks on earth-friendly topics like urban tree projects, emission-free transportation, backyard beekeeping, rain barrel collection, composting and more.
“People have started to do more connecting to what happens in the environment and their health,” Rebol says. “What seeps into our water, our ground, what we eat… all those things affect us. The secondary thing is an opportunity to showcase people doing really great work, the new entrepreneurs. They all kind of come together.
“The festival is a place to look around and go, ‘Wow, our North Sstate region has so much to offer,’ and that is something to celebrate. That’s another aspect of why we want to make sure this happens every year.”
Whole Earth and Watershed Festival • Redding City Hall
777 Cypress Ave. • Saturday, April 22, 11 am to 5 pm
Go green: RABA will offer free rides on all fixed routes (Routes 2E, 11 and 14 go directly to City Hall) and a free shuttle from the Downtown Transit Center; the Shasta Wheelmen will staff a free guarded bike corral during the festival
The Shasta Growers’ Farmers Market on the south side of City Hall will be open from 7:30 am to 1 pm