STALLINGS – Flowers are blooming, trees are budding and the grass is turning green – and there’s no better time to learn how to take care of the environment than at the peak of spring’s onset.
That’s the philosophy that’s driven Stallings and Indian Trail to unite annually for an Earth and Arbor Day Festival, which will take place this year on April 26, a Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Stallings Municipal Park, 340 Stallings Road.
The event will feature a plethora of local vendors, learning activities, crafts, live entertainment, contests and more. People will have the opportunity to contribute to two mixed media murals, one for each town, as well as paint birdhouses, plant trees and seeds and participate in other learning activities.
“The reason why we try to do more hands-on (activities) is not only are you participating in being a good steward of the earth, but you also have some hands-on activity you can transfer to home projects,” Dena Sabinske, Stallings’s parks and recreation director, said.
This year marks the fourth consecutive year Stallings and Indian Trail have joined together to host the Earth and Arbor Day Festival. The towns alternate hosting the festival each year – last year was Indian Trail’s turn, with the festival taking place at Crossing Paths Park.
“Our communities are very similar,” Susan Didier, events coordinator for Indian Trail, said of why the towns join together each year to host the festival. “…If we don’t stay earth friendly, we won’t have any communities.”
The festival offers learning opportunities for people of all ages. Sabinske said almost all of the vendors attending the festival would likely coordinate some type of hands-on learning activity that pertains to their
The festival will include a poetry contest for elementary students, a poster contest for middle school students and a photo contest for high school students. The poetry contest was open to students from Indian Trail and Stallings elementary schools, and students will read their poems at the festival in honor of National Poetry Month. The winners of all three contests will be announced at the festival, and all photo and poster entries will be on display during the event.
“We try to do all different types of community things to (make) children (aware) of Arbor Day and Earth Day, and the best way is through the contests,” Didier said.
Attendees also will have the chance to contribute to the towns’ annual mixed media murals, which will be created on 24-feet-by-36-feet canvases and each year include painting, glitter and various 3-D features.
“We’re doing children’s handprints with an Earth Day poem going in the middle” of the mural this year, Sabinske said. “It’s a good way to get everybody involved.”
The festival also will include a bounce house for children, and people can use the playgrounds and other park amenities during the event. But Sabinske said the main goal for the Earth and Arbor Day Festival is to focus more on education rather than simply offer an entertainment atmosphere like other town festivals do.
“With Earth Day, it’s more themed to what the subject is – which is Earth and Arbor Day,” she said. “We’re trying to give (people) a little bit of both – an outlet to have fun, playground equipment and things, but … (also) teach that you can make your world better. We want to educate.”
Stallings also will host a Movie/Fitness Kids Night on May 17, a Saturday, from 6 to 10 p.m. The event will take place at Stallings Municipal Park and will feature a children’s obstacle course, prizes and a free showing of Disney’s “Frozen” at dusk. Sabinske said the town also is planning to host a children’s mud run during the
“We’re trying to work with some local fitness groups to help facilitate that,” Sabinske said. “It’s going to be awesome.”
Find more information about the Earth and Arbor Day Festival and other Stallings and Indian Trail events at the towns’ websites, www.stallingsnc.org and www.indiantrail.org.