EcoFest provides 'green' education

By Vicki Hyatt | May 01, 2013

A new festival being planned in Haywood County will provide not only entertainment, but learning opportunities on many fronts.

Those interested in growing a garden can learn about soils, growing in containers and even how to preserve the backyard bounty.

WNC EcoFest, an event designed to inspire, teach and entertain, will provide plenty of opportunities in all categories for everyone.This first-time festival in Haywood County, sponsored by the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce, will be held between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, May 4, on the Haywood Community College Campus.

In addition to vendor booths that are a hallmark at festivals, EcoFest will feature a full day of demonstrations with an opportunity to learn about organic gardening, growing hops, raising chickens, making pickles, canning and cooking with local, seasonal foods, bees, worm composting, growing shitake mushrooms and more. Festival-goers will be able to experience the many green aspects of the college campus, including the platinum-standard Creative Arts Building and the high tunnel greenhouse on campus.

There will be no shortage of things for the youngest crowd to do. In addition to corn hole boards for kids and adults, there will be Hula Hoops, jump ropes, Kid K'Nex, sidewalk chalk, block play and a trivia wheel. Vi Keenan of Macaroni Kid in Waynesville, a free, green, online resource for parents will be showing kids how to make a macaroni bracelet and a bird feeder using Cheerios. There will also be a sensory box where children can try to identify the objects before they pull them out of the rice.

The whole family can glean tips about recycling, using rain barrels, turning wood into gasoline to power a vehicle and multiple aspects of green building. There will also be demonstrations and information about healthy living and wellness.

Entertainment will be provided throughout the day by local bands and festival-goers will be able to enjoy a “Ploughman’s Lunch,” of fresh local foods, including eggs, greens and cheeses being prepared by the Haywood County School Nutrition Association. Funds raised will be used to help send child nutrition employees to state and national conferences for continuing education opportunities.

In addition, Julie Sawyer, family and consumer science extension agent, will do a canning demonstration, complete with a Powerpoint with slides showing important steps about food safety issues. Sawyer also invited those with pressure gauges to bring them along to be tested.

Sawyer said since strawberries are in season, they will be highlighted in her presentation.

Melanie Batchelor with MedWest will be doing a demonstration on healthy cooking with locally available products. She, too, will be preparing a strawberry snack dish and promises to have plenty of samples. At the MedWest booth, she will have recipes, and other nutrition information.

Allen Newland at Haywood Builders Supply said their focus for the event will be on  solar water heating projects.

“We’ve have everything from a retrofit to a new home system,” he said, adding the newest technology is a hybrid water heating system that includes not only traditional elements but a heat pump. The model, which is eligible for tax credits, will pay for itself in a year, and is projected to save $325 annually depending on the cost of electricity.

For details, call the Haywood County Chamber of Commerce, 456-3021 or visit


Entertainment Schedule

Faerie Kin Stiltwalkers 10-10:45 a.m.
Blue Ridge Tradition 11:15 a.m.-noon
Frog Level Philharmonic 12:15-1 p.m.
Lorraine Conard Band 1:15-2:15 p.m.
N8 the Great 2:15-2:45 p.m.
Simple Folk 3-4 p.m.


Demonstrator Schedule

1pm Julie Sawyer NC Cooperative Extension Service Canning and Food Preservation
1:45pm Melanie Batchelor MedWest Healthy Food
Inside Demonstrations
11am Kim May Workshop on EFT (tapping) and/or
EMDR (Eye Moto Desensitization Regime)
11:45am Eric Romaniszyn Haywood Waterways Association Home Water Conservation
12:30pm Eric Romaniszyn Haywood Waterways Association Raparian Buffers (WATR or HWA)
1:15pm Jessica DeMarco Copper Pot & Wooden Spoon How to Pickle Vegetables
2pm John Sherman HCC Growing Shiitake Mushrooms
Outside Demonstrations
10am Kaleb Rathbone Mountain Research Station Renewable Energy Project/Biofuels - Discussion
10:45am Sal Kennedy Tractor Supply Building a Container Garden
11:30am Jonathan Landry JL Builders Ins/outs of Backyard Chicken Rearing
12:15pm Andy Bailey A.Bailey Design Beekeeping
1pm Spencer Bolejack Land of Sky Wilderness School Wilderness Skills
Animal Tracking, Fire and Friction
1:45pm Sheryl Cuppy Beekeeping
2:30pm Sheryl Cuppy Worm Composting
3:15pm Heidi Dunkelberg H&K Farms Hop Yard
Growing Hops in Our County
Comments (1)
Posted by: David Woody | May 01, 2013 15:58

The mushrooms are "shiitake," not "shittake."  Please use Spell Check with unusual words.

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