With exhibits incorporating themes of clean energy and sustainability, the 18th annual Douglas County Earth Day & Energy Fair aims to bring community members and visitors together to celebrate the earth.

The event is set for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in the Exhibit Building at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

Featuring 52 exhibitors, crafts, live music and food, the event is free, and participants are encouraged to bring a donation for United Community Action Network Food Bank.

Stuart Liebowitz, event coordinator, said the fair attracts about 2,500 to 3,000 people each year.

“The purpose of Earth Day is to have people enjoy and celebrate our planet and become good stewards of the earth,” Liebowitz said. He said Earth Day dates back to 1970, and is meant to help people understand they have a moral obligation to restore the earth for future generations.

The fair will include a variety of family-oriented activities and exhibits on biochar, solar energy, sustainability demonstrations, a poetry contest, electric and alternative power cars and electric bicycles. Canyon Creek Bicycles of Roseburg donated two bicycles to raffle off during the event, along with 25 baskets of gifts and items courtesy of other donators.

Participants can also expect to learn about organic gardening, energy efficiency, local waterways, reusable and recyclable products, native plants and more.

The fair also coincides with Migratory Bird Day, and a section of the building will be dedicated to teaching participants about birds. Phoenix Charter School students will be selling concessions during the fair as a fundraiser for their end of the year trip.

Maura Lydon, who works with the Pheonix Charter School garden through AmeriCorps, said she plans to run a booth at the fair offering seeds for people to take home. She said there will also be activities, art projects for kids and information for adults about how to live more sustainably.

Lydon said she moved to Oregon from Virginia and she’s enjoyed getting involved in the community.

“I’ve never been to an energy fair this big, and I’m really excited about it,” she said.

She added many community artists will be at the fair with recycled or “up-cycled” jewelry, including a quilt maker who uses rags she gets from around the community and artists who use old wires they salvage.

Rather than recycling, Liebowitz said the focus is on reducing and reusing, which have a more powerful impact on keeping items out of landfills.

Bee-keeping groups will provide bee hives and hand out information to help people get started with bee keeping, which Lydon said is up and coming in this area.

“It’s a really community-oriented effort to involve everyone and benefit the residents and be mindful about the importance of the environment,” Liebowitz said.

The electric cars display will feature a Tesla, Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf, with experts to talk about the benefits of driving electric.

“We view this fair as being on the forefront of the technology of the future, benefiting not only the environment but the economy,” Liebowitz said.

Utility companies will be discussing incentives for energy-efficient systems, and Sunrise Enterprises will be putting on a fashion show of recycled clothes.

Lydon said she’s very excited for the poetry contest, and the event coordinators are accepting entries right now for poems having to do with nature and energy. The winners of the contest will get to read their poems on stage and win a prize.

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Business, Natural Resources and Outdoors Reporter

Emily Hoard is the business, outdoors and natural resources reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at 541-957-4217 or by email at ehoard@nrtoday.com. Follow her on Twitter @hoard_emily.

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