Earth Day Kids Festival
For some time now there has been an interest in the community to have some type of a spring festival for the community. This April 22 that is coming to life. On Friday, April 22, Earth Day, a group of community organizations are coordinating the first Caswell Earth Day Kids Festival. The week prior, the children will be out of school for Easter/Spring break and this year, there will be some exciting activities that they may enjoy experiencing.
The festival is being spearheaded by Cool Beans, a local nonprofit organization operating under the National Women in Agriculture Association. Initiated by Selena Thornton, Program Director and Tonya Pennix, Operational Director, the event planning began as a way to engage young people in the community into agriculture-oriented activities and career exploration. This youth workforce development program focused on agriculture and entrepreneurship has the ultimate goal of introducing youth to all facets of agriculture as a business, to help create an interest in farming and to help sustain the farmlands in our local community.
Over the course of eight weeks, the program will work to both teach and engage students from around Caswell County through a series of sessions that will begin the week of April 18. With kick off event at Mourning Dove Farm in Caswell County, there will be a series of activities throughout the week of spring break. On Friday afternoon, April 22, Earth Day, there will be a community wide celebration at the kid’s festival from 1:00 – 6:00pm at the Yanceyville Pavilion. After the Earth Day festivities, the program continues into the summer.
Current festival participants include Caswell Forestry Service along with Smokey the Bear, Cooperative Extension and a composting demonstration, The Innovation Station STEM bus from NCA&T, the Tooth Fairy in Disguise, and engaging booth demonstrations with the Veterans of Caswell County more.
There will be information booths on children’s services including the Dolly Pardon Imagination Library, the Gunn Memorial Public Library, home schooling information and others. On the stage will be kid’s karaoke and children’s book readings. And there will be food, of course.
For the businesses in town, the Chamber of Commerce, is coordinating a local shredder truck to take on any paperwork the community may need to dispose of safely. There will be a camera set up inside the shredder so that the children can see how the process is completed and the recycling can begin!
The Earth Day Festival also plans to also have a ‘kid only’ vendor area wherein youth run vendor booths are set up to sell their hand made crafts, farm goods or other items.
The Cool Beans program continues on after the festival into May and June where youth can be involved in several projects that include reworking and planting in the raised beds at the senior center, attending the Caswell Farmers Market at a booth and interacting with the customers, and the chance to learn to soap with goats’ milk from a local Caswell goat farmer. Opportunities for special needs children to participate with the hydroponic tower garden will be available and there will even be a field trip to an oyster farm.
Many signed up to be a part of the program at the Christmas Tree Lighting event last December and these children will be given first chance at attending the programs. As the Program Director, Selena Thornton shared, “It is an amazing opportunity for all of the children across the county to experience all that can be realized in agriculture in Caswell’. ‘Just getting the children engaged in the wonderful world of agriculture, is such an important part of all of this,’ said Tonya Pennix.
If your organization is interested in having a booth/table there that can help to tie in Earth Day, the environment, farming and children, please call 336-694-6106. There is a limited number of vendor spaces available. For information on the Kids Vendor Area, email CoolBeansAgKids@gmail.com.
As published in The Caswell Messenger March 16, 2022