Whether you're a landowner or an apartment dweller, the third annual Mother Earth News Fair will have something for everyone to learn a little more about sustainable living.
And because the only version of the fair in the eastern part of the nation takes place at the Seven Springs Mountain Resort, locals can most easily reap its benefits when it takes place from Sept. 21 to 23.
Sponsored by the bi-monthly environmental magazine, the Mother Earth News Fair welcomed 10,000 guests last year, said Anna Weltz, communications manager for the resort. With the only other version of the fair taking place in Puyallup, Wash., Weltz added she's met people from all over the East Coast who have traveled to Seven Springs to attend.
Attendees listen to a speech by nationally known organic farmer Joel Salatin at last year’s Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs Mountain Resort.
"Every year, the crowds get larger and larger and attendance grows when the word gets out, when they hear about this amazing, unique event in the local region," she said.
To keep up with the demand for more workshops, lectures and clinics from experts in every arena of eco-friendly, sustainable living, the fair grew from two to three days this year. Approximately 220 workshops and 130 presenters will address topics like organic gardening, green building and transportation, renewable energy and natural health.
Other activities include organic food vendors, a green shopping pavilion, and heirloom seed display and children's activities.
If you go
What: Mother Earth News Fair
When: Sept. 21 to 23, gates open at noon Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: Seven Springs Mountain Resort, 777 Waterwheel Drive, Seven Springs
Details: Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the gate for a three-day pass and $15 in advance and $20 at the gate for a one-day pass. Children 17 and under get in free. To purchase tickets visit www.motherearthnewsfair.com or call 800-234-3368.
Weltz said it will prove to be an "eye-opening, family-focused" event for anyone in attendance, especially children.
"They'll learn new things and be exposed to new ideas and new ways of thinking," she said.
The family fun is why Jennifer Morchesky and her 9-year-old daughter, Delia, are excited to attend the fair again after going for the first time last year. Morchesky, 39, of Carrolltown, said she's very interested in natural foods and sustainable living, and last year attended lectures on farming, homesteading and baking artisan bread.
"Experts in different fields will all be in one place doing great presentations," she said, adding that her daughter enjoyed the childrens activities and eating natural treats like cotton candy. "And I had the best burger I've ever eaten there."
Morchesky was also able to catch a presentation last year by Jenna Woginrich, a homesteader from Jackson, N.Y., and read one of her books following the fair.
Woginrich, 30, will return this year to give presentations on backyard meat production, homesteading and finding means of supplemental income. She became an expert on these topics when she left an office job and city life for a 6 1/2 acre farm, where she now grows vegetables, raises chickens, sheep and pigs and cares for three dogs and a cat.
"So it's a full house," she said.
Woginrich became interested in homesteading after realizing she wanted to learn how she could take care of herself without a car or the grocery store. She started reading up on the subject and doing things like baking her own bread, growing small plants in her apartment and knitting.
Now, she is fully self-sufficient and generates her income by freelancing as a graphic designer, writer and blogger, and bartering and selling goods and animals from her farm.
"This is my full-time job now, living on this farm," she said.
Woginrich said she enjoys attending the fair each year because it is full of people interested in a similar lifestyle.
"It's the people that are the fair as much as the fair itself," she said. "Everything you need to know is available if you turn around and just ask somebody."
Wertz agreed that the event is suitable for anyone who has started to think about their environmental impact.
"Learn some new things and share some ideas with people who have the same mindset as yourself," she said.
Mirror Staff Writer Beth Ann Downey is at 946-7520.