DeCarbon DeKalb plans inaugural DeKalb County Earth Fest

Event to mark Earth Day will celebrate local sustainability efforts, foster community engagement, organizers say

Newly sprouted leaves catch a ray of sun Friday, April 21, 2023, at County Farm Woods in DeKalb.

DeKALBDeCarbon DeKalb and other environmental friendly groups will be putting on the inaugural DeKalb County Earth Fest in April.

The free event kicks off at 4:30 p.m. April 18 at the Egyptian Theatre in downtown DeKalb and will set out to celebrate local sustainability and foster community engagement.

“It should be a really fun, festive way to lead into Earth Day and keep conversations about sustainability, saving energy, saving money, eating better locally sourced foods,” said Andrew Wanek, co-founder of DeCarbon DeKalb. “There’s so many elements to this that people are considering more and more these days that the timing just seemed right to pull something together in our community to get together and have a collective conversation, learn more and keep the conversation rolling.”

The festival will coincide with the national commemoration of Earth Week, which is observed annually in mid-April. Earth Day is April 22.

“There’s still so many ways that people – homeowners, families, individuals, people at home, people in apartments – we can all learn to adapt to a different mindset about how we all live on the planet.”

—  Andrew Wanek

Festival-goers will be greeted by an array of things to do, from watching a documentary screening of “Common Ground” and trying their hand at giveaways to checking out an electric vehicle rally, visiting food trucks and scoping out reconditioned bikes.

Wanek said the event promises to have something to appeal to a wide audience.

He said participants will find opportunities not only to learn but also to have fun and network.

“We wanted to create a festive fun zone, so we’re calling the first couple of hours leading up to the documentary an ‘Eco Social,’” Wanek said. “It’s an opportunity for people to connect and network, but also to get more information about everything from solar to heat pumps to what local agencies are doing for the environment. There’s nonprofits there to share about what they’re doing and what the community could take advantage of.”

Organizers behind the festival have already been taking to social media to promote the event.

Wanek said the community’s response to event organizers’ efforts to spread the word have been met favorably.

“There was a lot of enthusiasm when we started to put this out to the community,” Wanek said. “It was easy to get people to jump on board for sponsorship and also to host informational tables. We got such a strong reaction right off the bat. We knew that it would be something that we could plan in a short amount of time.”

Wanek said he hopes people walk away from the festival with a more open mind about the Earth, if they don’t already.

“There’s a lot that busy people can do,” he said. “Busy people include parents of young children who are especially concerned about the future of our planet. But we’re all busy with work and other activities. There’s ways to plug. There’s ways to engage, to learn about what other people are doing without committing to sitting on a commission or a monthly meeting with a group. Homeowners, families, individuals, people at home, people in apartments – we can all learn to adapt to a different mindset about how we all live on the planet.”

If you go

What: DeKalb County Earth Fest

Where: Egyptian Theatre, 135 N. Second St., DeKalb

When: April 18 at 4:30 p.m.

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