Growing Green in Boonsboro
This annual eco-friendly event—happening May 7 this year—drew nearly 5,000 people to the town in 2015 and ‘continues to get bigger and better every year.’
Back in 2009, the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force held the first-ever Boonsboro Green Fest, a free one-day event designed to inspire people to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle through conservation and recycling. Since then, Boonsboro Green Fest has become one of the town’s most anticipated and well-attended annual events—and the sheer scope of what the festival offers has grown tremendously.
“Green Fest continues to get bigger and better every year,” said Janeen Solberg, who serves as co-chair of the Boonsboro Green Fest Committee alongside Barbara Wetzel.
Nearly 5,000 people attended last year’s Green Fest, according to Wetzel. “And we just about maxed out our space in Shafer Park with 200 vendors last year, so that’s how many we’ll have this year, too,” she said.
This year’s eighth-annual Boonsboro Green Fest will be held rain or shine from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 7. “We have a lot of new and exciting vendors we've added to the mix this year and some new musical acts,” Solberg said. “We really hope that folks take the time to come out to be part of this great day.”
Tim Rowland, a New York Times bestselling author and columnist for Herald-Mail Media, will serve as master of ceremonies during the opening of Green Fest at 9:45 a.m. at the park bandstand. The ceremony will include introduction of special guests and the Green Fest Committee, as well as the singing of “This Land is Your Land” led by local singer-songwriter and children’s musician Tony M. Music.
After the opening ceremony, attendees can roam the park exploring the services and wares of vendors selling everything from solar energy options to eco-friendly housewares, decor, kids’ toys, and body products like handcrafted soaps and essential oils. Representatives from a variety of health and wellness service providers, such as the Boonsboro Wellness Center and the Regenerate Float Spa in Hagerstown, will be on hand to discuss the benefits of their services. Several local farmers also will be selling seasonal produce, spring plantings, herbs, and flowers.
This year, Green Fest organizers have added an eco-friendly transportation area, “where local vendors can show off electric vehicles, bicycles, canoes, kayaks, and even a horse and buggy,” Wetzel said.
In addition to the vendors, which are “always a hit,” Solberg said, “there’s live music, the beer and wine tent, a great food selection, and a rock climbing wall. There are all kinds of things going on,” she added.
Green Fest’s recycling zone, open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Community Center parking lot, is one of the highlights of the festival each year, according to Solberg. “We get questions year-round about our recycling zone, and every year we collect hundreds of items to be recycled,” she said. “When we open up the recycling zone, the cars start lining up so people can bring in all those items they’ve been saving all year long—because they know it’ll be recycled properly and there’s no charge.”
Items that can be recycled include electronics like televisions and cell phones as well as batteries, medical equipment, household goods, wine corks, coat hangers, and “almost anything you can think of,” Wetzel said. “And it’s not just for Boonsboro—it’s for the whole region. Anybody can bring stuff to recycle.”
Green Fest’s annual gently used clothing and sports equipment swap and sale always lures a large crowd, too. Last year, more than 15,000 items were swapped, according to Wetzel. (Pro Tip: See the festival’s website for details on how to donate items in exchange for credit vouchers prior to the event.)
Proceeds from this year’s clothing and sports equipment sales will be donated to Micah's Backpack, which provides nutritious meals and snacks to local children who don’t have access to enough food on weekends. All clothing not swapped or sold will be donated to the Washington County nonprofit organization Children in Need Inc.
In addition to all of the aforementioned activities, Green Fest attendees can enjoy live music throughout the day by bands including Cookin' with Fire, Mountain Ride, and River Run. There also will be a silent auction featuring eco-friendly merchandise and services.
For the youngest Green Fest-goers, Tony M. Music will be providing musical entertainment in the Kids Zone, where children also can participate in green-themed arts and crafts projects, help create a giant bottle-top mosaic, learn about geocaching, and more.
For more information about Boonsboro Green Fest, visit www.boonsborogreenfest.com.
IF YOU GO TO GREEN FEST
- What: Eighth-annual Boonsboro Green Fest
- When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 7
- Where: Shafer Park, Boonsboro, Maryland
- Learn more at www.boonsborogreenfest.com.