Celebrating the Earth a few days early

Sarah Batteli, age 2, is twirled around by her dad John of Grand Junction at the Earth Day Celebration at the Mesa County Fairgrounds

Chloe Hollis of Grand Junction likes Earth Day so much, she’ll be throwing a party Wednesday.

Oh, and yes, she turns 27 that day. The real Earth Day.

On Saturday, she sat clicking on a hand-held crowd counter which read 660 as of 1:30 p.m. as she tracked people trickling in at the Mesa County Fairgrounds, 2785 U.S. Highway 50.

Grand Junction celebrated Earth Day on Saturday, four days early.

“Everyone seems real positive about it for the most part,” Hollis said of the early celebration.

She greeted guests and snatched up e-mail addresses on a sign-in sheet.

Saturday’s event, which included a smattering of vendors set up in something of a rough semicircle at the fairground’s Expo Park, included about 40 booths staffed by mostly local, green-friendly organizations or businesses.

A lineup of six bands was scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., which brought out 63-year-old Phil LaRocca of Grand Junction, a fan of local band Flat Top Reed.

“The environment matters to me,” LaRocca said.

Thom Wheeler, 59, of Grand Junction, said he learned Saturday about tax rebates available with solar energy products. He said his job brought him to the fairgrounds Saturday.

“I would have been here even if I wasn’t working,” said Wheeler, a father of two. “We’ve got to take care of the earth, or it isn’t going to take care of us.”

“Plus,” he said with a smile, “there’s a lot of free stuff they’re giving out.”

Earth Day was founded in 1970 by the late U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisconsin, to raise environmental awareness.


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