Mercer Green Fest scheduled for March 14 at Rider

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The organizers of the Mercer Green Fest don’t care if it rains on their event, and in fact they wouldn’t mind at all because the theme is “Water – Clean and Healthy.”

The 14th annual Mercer Green Fest, which is set for March 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will be held at Rider University’s Student Recreation Center in Lawrence Township.

The family-friendly event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Mercer County Sustainability Coalition. The “Green Teams” from Ewing, Hopewell, Lawrence and West Windsor townships have taken the lead to organize this year’s event.

The Mercer Green Fest got its start as a local event in Lawrence Township organized by Sustainable Lawrence. It was formerly known as the Living Local Expo.

“Form my perspective, bringing the community together to explore solutions and encourage sustainability is really very, very important,” said Pam Mount, one of the event organizers.

Through the Mercer Green Fest, visitors can learn how things fit together and how their actions can have an impact, Mount said. They can find out what they can do to be more sustainable in their own lives.

“It is building awareness in the community about what they can do to protect the environment and become more resilient. It will give them exposure to all the resources that are around – the solar panel companies and nonprofit groups,” Mount said.

One of the highlights of the 2020 Mercer Green Fest is a “giant” map of Lawrence Township, Mount said.

“It will cover a wall where everyone can draw, write or imagine their favorite spots in Lawrence,” she said.

Visitors are encouraged to create a vision of the future of Lawrence Township by adding their neighborhood dreams, popular walking paths and biking trails, she said.

More than 60 eco-friendly businesses and organizations will offer information and incentives to help Mercer County residents “go green” and “save green” – from solar panel companies to the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

Visitors can see one of the largest electric car displays in the state in the parking lot outside the Student Recreation Center, and also learn about energy efficiency, walking and bicycle trails, recycling, and health, exercise and wellness.

And in line with the Mercer Green Fest’s theme of “Water – Clean and Healthy,” the Watershed Institute, formerly known as the Stony Brook Millstone Watershed Association, is bringing along an exhibit to show where water goes when it rains.

There will be a rain barrel-making workshop, and visitors can also learn how to create a rain garden.

The New Jersey American Water Company and the Trenton Water Works, which both provide water to Mercer County residents, each will have a booth at the Mercer Green Fest.

The farmers market at the Mercer Green Fest will offer locally produced fruits, vegetables, cheeses, honey, flowers and artisan food products from vendors.

And since the Mercer Green Fest is a family-friendly event, there will be entertainment for the younger visitors – from singer/songwriter Miss Amy to the Eyes of the Wild traveling zoo and, of course, Solar Man. He will show children how energy is generated through solar panels.

Miss Amy will play at 11:30 a.m., and Tucker’s Tales puppet show will be on stage at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. In between puppet shows, the  puppeteers will help children make their own puppets.

The Eyes of the Wild traveling zoo show is set for 1 p.m., and Solar Man will be ready to shine at 2:30 p.m.

“Sometimes people think that what they do does not matter, but in fact this is the only way to solve the problem of climate change and become more sustainable,” Mount said.

And showing them how to they can do so is one of the goals of the Mercer Green Fest, she said.