A shade greener

Garden Station’s second annual EarthFest

By Gary Spencer

Photo: The Guinness World Record-setting Great Cloth Diaper Change will take place at 11 a.m. at Garden Station, and around the world
With the modern world caught up in technology and human beings rarely interacting face-to-face, it can sometimes be a good thing for us to all be brought back to Earth. And, as this week is Earth Week, now is the perfect time for a celebration of making life on this planet last a little longer. The good folks at Garden Station in downtown Dayton plan on doing just that and more as they play host on Saturday, April 26 at EarthFest 2014. According to festival organizer and project manager Lisa Helm, this event is about building for the future.“EarthFest is about learning how we can make our lives healthier, more connected and more sustainable for the planet,” Helm said. “We want to show a consumer-focused society is not required to have a high quality of life now and for future generations.”

Although this is only the second EarthFest at Garden Station to date, the roots of the event go back to when the community art park and garden began holding a Sunday Urban Farmer Market as a means to provide local growers a way to sell fresh produce to the local public. Soon, Garden Station was hosting sustainable living workshops as part of the Sunday Farmer Market. Before long, the collective decided to make one big shindig out of it all. Just like that, EarthFest was born.

The inaugural EarthFest was a smashing success, drawing nearly 1,000 people to Garden Station throughout the 8-hour extravaganza with workshops, local bands and vendors aplenty.

EarthFest 2014 will tread similar ground, featuring over 30 free workshops on eco-minded topics such as beekeeping, home brewing, garden planning, fermented foods and herbal medicine, among many other subjects. Helm is proud of how EarthFest has attracted attention from both eco-friendly vets to the eco-curious newbie, and believes all will take away something positive from the EarthFest experience.

“The main focus of EarthFest is educational and most of the booths will reflect that,” Helm said. “There will be over 30 free workshops presented in a very basic, DIY way to give people skills and information they can apply to their lives right away to ‘go a shade greener.’ Of course, people who are already interested in these topics will love the event, but also those who have always wanted to know more about these topics but didn’t know who to talk to.”

But EarthFest isn’t all lessons in environmental consciousness and being an urban hippie. Other events include the all-day Really, Really Free Market, which Helm called “the ultimate recycling event.” Anyone who wishes to participate can bring in useful items they don’t need and give them to people who could really use them. At 11 a.m., there’s the now-world-famous Great Cloth Diaper Change, an international Guinness World Record-setting sensation. Every GCDC event across the globe will take place at the same local time with champion diaper changers doing what they do best – all while educating and demonstrating to audiences how cloth diapers are a healthy, safe and eco-conscious alternative to plastic diapers.

Once again, the local music scene will be represented at EarthFest, as well. With Garden Station being a long-serving host of local music on downtown First Fridays, it was only natural some great local musicians would be featured. This year’s musical lineup includes performances from local luminaries such as Meghna and the Majority, Stillwater River Band, Changeling, the Burundian Royal Court Drummer and even members of Stivers School for the Arts Jazz band. And finally, this year’s EarthFest will be sponsoring its first Recycled Art Bike Contest, where participants are invited to show off their bikes as works of art by decorating them with reusable materials, normally found clogging up a landfill. The bicycles will be judged at 1 p.m., to be followed by all cyclists taking their works of art on wheels to the streets of downtown Dayton for a short parade, after which prizes will be awarded for contest winners. Add in local food trucks, a juice bar, local craft beer on tap and vendors a plenty – there’s a load of activities planned to entertain and educate adults and kids alike. Even with a big Earth Week celebration like this, Helm said Garden Station is just warming up for another year of growing their community in collaboration, creative expression and good times.

“EarthFest is the just the kick-off to a great season of community events at Garden Station,” Helm said. “At Garden Station, the community shares our knowledge, our skills and our spirits to grow resilience in an atmosphere of creativity and fun. We are building community and a more sustainable and connected one at that! There’s no better place to be to connect to your neighbors.”


EarthFest 2014 takes place Saturday, April 26 at Garden Station, 509 E. Fourth St. Admission is free to the public and all ages are welcome. Activities begin at 10 a.m. For more information, please visit


Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@daytoncitypaper.com.

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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