At a well-attended first Haverhill Goes Green environmental fair, people came, listened, ate, bought, watched and learned, and left — organizers hope — a little wiser about the environment in which they live.
"I felt amazed to be at this event with great folks who are really helping the Earth," said Adaela McLaughlin of Peaceful Valley Gardens on Hawthorne Street in Haverhill.
Brightside, under the direction of Douglas Edison, organized and held the fair at Winnekenni Castle on Kenoza Street on Sunday afternoon, April 25, in celebration of Earth Day and its 40th anniversary.
Entertained by the Elle Gallo Band throughout the day, people picnicked on the lawn outside, when they weren't listening to speakers in the main entrance inside the castle.
"It went well. We couldn't have asked for a better day, and I think everybody has enjoyed themselves, here," said Brightside clerk Heather Budrewicz.
Despite the challenges of getting the first Haverhill Goes Green fair up and running, by 3:30 p.m. Sunday the Brightside group, which ran the affair in conjunction with Team Haverhill and the Winnekenni Foundation, celebrated as good a turn out as organizers say they could have hoped for.
Polly Jutras, of Fletcher Community Farm on East Broadway in Haverhill, said, "We got a lot of action at our booth," about the crowd at the fair.
"We talked with some of our regular customers, and interested some new ones in what we're doing," Jutras said.
Fletcher Community Farm is hoping to launch Community Supported Agriculture in this, its first growing season.
She said their farm had only started, and they have received an encouraging response to their efforts to bring fresh produce to Haverhill.
Brightside, a city revitalization and community organization agency, in conjunction with other city groups, like Team Haverhill and the Winnekenni Foundation, organize events like the Haverhill Goes Green fair as part of the city's initiative to keep people involved in the city and its well-being, said Mayor James Fiorentini.
To loud applause, the mayor told the audience at the Green Fair that the city will soon have expanded, single-stream curbside recycling pickup throughout the city. He said the plan involves personal participation from people in each neighborhood.
He asked the crowd for volunteers from each neighborhood to coordinate their recycling. The mayor asked, "Who wants to step up and help go door-to-door to introduce this program in their neighborhoods?"
He suggested that those interested watch for further developments.
He ended his comments reminding those at the fair that environmental issues affect the city's future and he hoped Haverhill's citizens would be ready to help.
In brief remarks, Congresswoman Niki Tsongas mentioned the proposed parking garage and that the city had begun a solar panel project to help reduce electricity costs for Haverhill.
Asked if they would return again, vendors and craftsmen who offered jewelry, baked goods, farmers market products and environmental products and services said they had a successful afternoon.
"I enjoyed speaking with the other vendors and the people who attended. Looking forward to next year," said Doreen Blades of US Eco Products Corp.