Dandelion Day: Fun festival offers a serious message
Post Independent Staff
CARBONDALE ” Gayle Wells worked to get out the word about the Sierra Club Saturday to a logical target market ” “people who start out a little green,” as she put it.
Where else could it be but Dandelion Day, Carbondale’s annual rite of spring that honors a much-maligned little plant as well as all things green?
Hundreds of people took part in the day’s events, which included a parade, music, food, fun activities for kids ” all the signs that the summer mountain festival season is under way.
Except that this festival is a little different. It got its start in the defense of what some consider to be a weed, but others say is a fine source of Vitamin C and undeserving of meeting death-by-herbicide.
“This is absolutely exemplary, the whole idea of embracing your inner dandelion as a solution to our poisoning problems,” said John Hoffmann.
He was visiting a table at Sopris Park manned by the Carbondale Environmental Board, which organized Dandelion Day and has prepared a draft Energy and Climate Protection Plan for Carbondale.
Board member Jose Miranda, who works in the renewable energy industry, said the plan emphasizes a whole range of ideas, such as use of more efficient appliances and light bulbs, biking rather than driving, and turning toward renewable energy sources.
Miranda said he hopes to see increased awareness about the numerous rebates available to install renewable energy systems such as solar power.
“At the end, it’s like 50 percent of the equipment, you get your money back,” he said.
Nearby, a turkey, lasagna and other dishes simmered in a solar oven under a sunny sky. Around the park, the green theme continued. People could learn about straw bale construction or the current battle over protecting roadless areas in the White River National Forest. They could buy organic lemonade, hemp jewelry and herbal skin care products.
They could benefit refugees on the Thailand/Myanmar border through their purchases of pottery, paper umbrellas and other items. They also could buy homemade jewelry and yard sale items being offered by Amy Schweim, a Ross Montessori School teacher who is going to Peru in the fall to teach children English for six weeks.
Schweim figured Dandelion Day was a good event to get out the message about her trip and raise some of the money she needs to go.
“I’m just trying to piece it all together,” she said.
Schweim and Jana Shank set up shop Saturday at a table with a sign identifying them as the Dandelion Divas. Shank was trying to find a buyer for a bike and other possessions as she prepares to move to Utah.
Others also held rummage sales at the festival. It was just another form of recycling, an activity strongly encouraged ” naturally ” by festival organizers.
As Bob Millette helped Wells distribute literature at the Sierra Club booth, he voiced fondness for Dandelion Day.
“It’s low-key, but a real hometown event,” he said. “The nice thing is it’s not very commercial. Everybody is out just having a good time.”
Amid all the fun inspired by a little green and yellow plant, the event also offers serious environmental messages. Hoffmann hopes those messages will be heard.
“If we don’t take a good, hard look at how we live, we’re going to live ourselves into a hole,” he said.
Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. 516
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Grace Wesseling is an animal lover, a cheerleader of seven years and another soon-to-be graduate of Bridges High School, class of 2021.