People flocked to the Halifax Farmers Market on Saturday for the 14th annual Earth Day Extravaganza.
On a hot, sunny day, crowds waited for vendors with their farm-fresh produce and volunteers with Earth Day-themed arts and crafts for kids and planting supplies for people of all ages. .
Farmer’s market manager Denise Barksdale called the extravaganza a success, estimating between 275 and 300 people attended.
“It was a beautiful day, with beautiful blue skies and great weather in place for it all,” Barksdale said. “There were many activities inside and outside the market for all ages including flower printing, rock painting, flower making, digging in the dirt, planting a flower and well others with the participation of different organizations.”
A Garden to Go workshop was also part of the Earth Day Extravaganza, providing 100 people with a 5-gallon grow bag, soil, plants and seeds at no cost, Barksdale shared.
“We’re trying to put in people’s hands a way to grow their own food,” said Juliane Thurston of Virginia Cooperative Extension’s Family Nutrition Program.
“I am so grateful for the partnership with the Halifax County Extension Office, the Family Nutrition Program and the Master Gardeners, who have all made this possible, as well as all the wonderful volunteers who come with these organizations,” said said Barksdale.
Halifax County High School student Shayla Becker received a cucumber plant from the Garden to Go workshop to add to her garden. The ingenious high school student said she already has radishes, sunflowers, broccoli and strawberries in her garden and appreciates the opportunity to plant something new.
“I like that you can get things out of the garden; you don’t have to go to the store,” Becker said.
Megan Cash, whose 5-year-old son Opie received a tomato plant at the Garden to Go workshop, also expressed interest in learning how to grow his own food.
“I have houseplants, but I’m trying to get into growing vegetables,” Cash also said.
An arts and crafts contest was also part of the Earth Day extravaganza for the first time this year. Participants were tasked with creating art from repurposed objects.
“The goal of the contest was for people to take out the trash and become aware of how much plastic they use,” said contest coordinator Susi Robbins.
First place in the small groups, clubs or organizations category was the Southern Virginia Higher Education Foundation, which used a children’s pool and pieces of broken CDs to create a “heavenly earth” creation, Robbins said.
The Hayes family (Jessica and John Hayes) won first place in the family category, using scraps to create a horse and adorning it with flowers.
The Earth Day extravaganza also launched Sue “Miss Sue” Brooks’ Play and Learn Story Time (PALS) summer reading program.
As part of Saturday’s program, children made pencil holders out of Popsicle sticks.
Takyia Walker, 8, from Clover, said she plans to put flowers or pencils and crayons from her school in her multicolored holder.
Walker’s grandmother, Audrey Robertson, seemed to enjoy the Earth Day extravaganza as much as her granddaughter.
“It’s just a nice day to go out and enjoy the nice weather; it’s beautiful,” Robertson said, adding that she and her granddaughter were coming home with a flower, planting seeds, coloring books and other goodies from the event.
The extravaganza was also a successful day for market vendors.
“It’s nice to see all the traffic coming through here and talking to everyone, and the weather has been great,” said Kaitlin Fallen of Paige’s Produce, who sold canned goods, flowers, vegetables and plants. in mass at the market.
Brenda Hudson of Sedge Hill Farm, a regular market vendor, also had a great day selling carpenter bee traps and bluebird nest boxes.
“Today was very successful; it was a huge crowd,” Hudson explained. “I love meeting all the different people in the market.”
To add to the fun of the event, hourly door prizes were awarded to those in attendance, with over 40 prizes given out.
Barksdale noted that the Earth Day Extravaganza was the second successful event at the Halifax Farmers Market of the week. A free Thursday night paper shredding event at the market resulted in the shredding of three tons of paper for residents of the community.
PHOTOS: Earth Day Extravaganza