By Tim McCarthy
Haverhill's Brightside organization is preparing for its third annual Haverhill Goes Green event, a celebration of all things recycling and eco-friendly.
This year the festival will be April 29 at GAR Park, in the heart of the city. It will feature events, shopping and entertainment all focused on educating families about conservation opportunities in Haverhill. The park is across the street from the public library.
Brightside President Doug Edison said the focus of the event, as in past years, will be establishing Haverhill as the premiere recycling and green community in the Merrimack Valley.
"We don't want to be followers," Edison said. "We want to be leaders."
Fair-goers will be able to buy locally grown produce from the farmers market, learn about "sustainable living" options such as developing fuel from food wastes, and take part in family arts and crafts. The fun will spill over to the Citizens Center on Welcome Street.
As always, the fair is free and open to everyone.
"We're trying to make it so there's something for everyone," event coordinator Heather Budrewicz said.
In the past, the fair has been held at Winnekenni Castle and Northern Essex Community College, but Budrewicz said Brightside wanted to bring the experience of green living to people from all walks of life who congregate downtown.
"It's not just class division anymore,'' she said. "It's something everyone can do."
In addition, the fair will prominently feature and advertise the city's single-stream recycling program to encourage more Haverhill residents to take part.
Edison said he hopes residents realize Haverhill was able to save more than $150,000 through recycling last year — with just 15 percent of the city taking part.
"It's not so much why you're conserving things, but the dollars and cents of doing it," he said. "We're not just saving a tree here."
Haverhill Goes Green will also be the setting of the Green Business idea contest, which encourages young people to come up with business proposals focused on green living or conservation. Top finishers will be awarded grants to help jump start their plans.
More information about Haverhill Goes Green, including a list of sponsors, is available at haverhillsbrightside.org.