Events, entertainment planned for all ages
Live music, art booths, food, costumes, dancing and, most of all, community connection are all on the schedule at Methow Recycles’ Earth Day Celebration on Saturday (April 23), which also marks Methow Recycles’ 20th year of existence.
The celebration starts at 3 p.m. at the John Doran Ranch on Highway 20 just north of Twisp. Free parking is on site. Tickets are $25; kids 12 and under are free. Methow Recycles’ mission is resource conservation, but “we’ve never done a specific Earth Day festival before,” said Executive Director Sarah Jo Lightner, who took the helm of the recycling and waste prevention nonprofit organization in March 2021. “They’d held birthday bashes to commemorate milestones, but this year the board and I agreed that we should put a flag on Earth Day.”
The Earth Day Celebration serves a dual purpose, Lightner said. “We want to build community around our mission, and we also need to do some fundraising. This festival gives people a chance to finally come together after all this time apart during COVID, and to support our community recycling center.”
We’ve lost a bit of community identity during the pandemic, Lightner said. “So many new people have moved to town, and we’ve not had any of the traditional ways to connect with them and do the Methow thing, with kids running around, music playing, people getting to know each other. We want to bring back that sense of the Methow community,” he said.
“John [Doran] offered it [the celebration site],” Lightner said. “He has a cool sense of his responsibility to that property. He sees himself as a steward first, an owner second. He wants others to come enjoy his little slice of heaven along with him.”
Lightner said that holding the celebration at the John Doran Ranch emphasizes the community nature of the event. “What says ‘Methow’ more than partnering with someone who has such a love of this place?”
With its open grassy pastures, elevated stage, and grove of shade trees, the John Doran Ranch also offers the perfect COVID-friendly outdoor venue for a large festival. Social distancing is easy for those who prefer a bit of space from others, while those who are comfortable with proximity can sit together in lawn chairs or on blankets (BYO).
Lightner recruited local musician and naturalist Ken Bevis to help line up the talent for the stage: Emily McVickers, HooDoo Marimba, the Riverside Blues Band and others.
When considering a “keynote” genre to anchor the day, Lightner selected slam poetry instead of a more traditional keynote address.
“I love the passion of the slam poetry art form,” she said. “With this being a festival, it didn’t seem quite right to have a speaker. Slam poetry is dynamic and vibrant; it’s thought-provoking and emotional. It seemed like a more inspiring way to get the messages across than just listening to a speaker.”
Methow Valley poet Greg Wright coordinated the local and regional poetry line-up, all of whom will recite poems related to Earth, climate and/or community: Martha Flores, Joshua Dodds, Thome George and others.
With Saskatoon Kitchens and the Fork food truck selling a variety of festival-friendly foods and a beer garden with beer, wine and cocktails, the Earth Day Celebration attendees will be able to stay well-fortified throughout the afternoon. Kids can make costumes, march in the Kids’ Parade, or just run freely around the festival grounds. The Methow Recycles Repair Café folks will also be on hand to mend the mendable.
“Everyone is welcome,” Lightner said. “It’s going to be fun. I just want people walking around and smiling and thinking about how much they love living here.”