Batavia Earth Hour event will stretch on for more than 2 hours

BATAVIA – Organizers of the annual Earth Hour event in Batavia certainly aren’t afraid to turn out the lights. In fact, one hour of darkness isn’t nearly enough for the event.

The Earth Hour celebration will stretch on for more than two hours – from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the East Side Community Center, 14 N. Van Buren St., Batavia. The event is sponsored by the Batavia Environmental Commission, in cooperation with the Batavia Park District.

Carolyn Burnham, the event’s organizer, said there are more than a dozen activities, including:

• Live music from the group City Hall Fred Lite.

• Story time with Karen Schmidt.

• Yoga by Candlelight, featuring Kathy Freedlund.

• A drum circle from the Tau Center’s Lynn Schafer and Theresa Yonikus.

• A look at the stars with the Fox Valley Astronomical Society.

• There will be games for youths.

“We’ve come up with all kinds of things you can do in the dark,” Burnham said.

Earth Hour is a movement that urges people to switch lights off for an hour, starting at 8:30 p.m. Saturday, “to raise awareness for the planet.” While there are other local campaigns urging people to join the cause, the one in Batavia is distinct with its full slate of events.

“To make it an event, just to show up someplace, I think it needs to be more than an hour,” Burnham said. “Everybody wants to have a little bit more time.”

Massage therapist Michael Devo will be among several who will be providing short massage sessions at the event. He said it is his first time there, and his wife, photographer Lauri Novak, also will be part of the event. He said he embraces such opportunities to emphasize relaxation and earth-friendly activities.

“I think it’s the whole Earth Hour tie-in,” he said. “I’m a massage therapist, and everything for me is wanting to be natural, keep people away from pain medications and surgeries.”

The live music is a new part of the event, with the group playing an acoustic set in the last half-hour.

Burnham said the festivities won’t take place in total darkness, but she promises “a low-lit event” that emphasizes “things you can do in the dark.”

“You can listen to a storyteller,” she said. “You can do a meditation. You can play games in the dark. It won’t be pitch dark.”

If you go

The Earth Hour celebration will be from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday at the East Side Community Center, 14 N. Van Buren St., Batavia. Admission is free. For information, visit