By VIRGINIA SHANK
Special to the Herald-Star
SEVEN SPRINGS, Pa. - Kari Rinker said that when she leaves the Mother Earth News Fair today she will have plenty of resources to help her put into practice some of the sustainable living information she learned.
"I've bought a lot of books," she explained. "I'd like to get into certain areas, practices, a little more. This has really helped me, being here and seeing so many different options."
Rinker, of Capon Bridge, W.Va., was among the thousands of people who gathered at Seven Springs Mountain Resort this weekend for the annual event, which marked its third year.
The three-day event opened Friday and continues today. The fair features more than 200 workshops, on a variety of topics including organic gardening, real food, renewable energy, small-scale livestock, green building and remodeling, DIY projects, natural health and green transportation. There are also 250 exhibitors and 15 keynote speakers.
"It's great to see this event grow the way that it has," said Deirdre Flemming of Fleetwood, Pa. "Each year more and more people come. It's awesome to see the events, the presentations, filled to capacity and to know people are really excited about taking care of themselves, their families, the environment."
Flemming and her husband, Trey, set up a stand each year at the festival to sell honey and seed garlic.
"There's a community here of people who really care and want to do what they can to make a difference," she said. "It's exciting to see that enthusiasm grow."
The fair, hosted by Mother Earth News magazine and Seven Springs, also offers several off-stage activities, a Farmers Olympics, a seed swap, children's activities, a green shopping pavilion, vendor and livestock demonstrations, and local and organic food options.
Anna Weltz, a spokeswoman for Seven Springs, said the fair was expanded from two days last year to three this year because of its growing popularity and attendee feedback.
"We're excited because it is something that people are interested in and has been catching on more and more," she said. Although final attendance numbers were not yet available, Weltz said at least 5,700 tickets were sold in advance.
Michael Clarke of Wheeling, W.Va., said he was impressed with the information provided by the vendors and speakers.
"I'm kind of new to this whole process and everything," he said. "You hear about the importance of taking care of the environment and people talking about going green and everything, but putting that into practice is another thing. It kind of makes it all more real, practical, understandable. You realize this is something you can actually do.