Sun, local farms draw crowds to EcoFest

KINGSTON — EcoFest attendees were presented with a plethora of entertainment Saturday, and on a warm day to boot.

Live music, acrobatic dancers, mini-plays and rapping grandmas — Stillwaters Environmental Center’s annual EcoFest drew people from around Kitsap to celebrate Earth’s bounty.

EcoFest is usually held around Earth Day, hosting vendors of environmental organizations and local farms, to educate the public.

Now, in its 13th year, Administrative Director Naomi Maasberg said moving the festival to June gave them a better chance for nicer weather. And it worked — the Stillwaters’ campus off Barber Cutoff Road in Kingston was awash with sunlight. Poulsbo’s Viking Feast ice cream became a necessity to cool down.

Animals were a main focus of this year’s festival, which went “Back to the Basics.” Several vendors taught attendees how to grow veggies and maintain their own backyard farm, raise chickens and goats for food, and beekeeping.

Kingston Farm and Garden Co-op recruited volunteers following a successful first harvest. The co-op has a giving garden, which yielded nearly 700 pounds of vegetables for ShareNet food bank last year. Lajoie Bradley, a Kingston High School senior, said the school’s honor society volunteers to cultivate the garden. They hope to work out a program to give local schools some of the produce.

The fest also featured green home design businesses, including the popular exhibit Seattle Tiny Homes. Owner Sharon Read had one of her custom-built, energy-efficient mobile homes on display for folks to tour. The houses have wheels, but are meant to stay put. The size she builds — about 8.5 feet wide by 22 feet long, 13.5 feet high — have been used as a portable hair salon, massage parlor and a greenhouse, and can be built on or off the grid.

Kitsap County Commissioner Rob Gelder (District 1) was on hand to present several awards for local volunteer service. Dave and Anne Wetter won Community Citizen of the Year, and North Kitsap Metal Recycling won Sustainable Business of the Year. Stillwater also honored some of their own volunteers — Henry and Charlie Golden, and Ben Pirtle won the youth awards. Sandra Power and Betsy Cooper won the adult awards.

Cooper is a part of the Frog Chorus, Stillwaters’ performance troupe. Donning several costumes, the troupe shared environmental protection messages through a rap — complete with beatbox — and dressed as different Pacific Northwest creatures.

Adam Champion, 4, nearly joined the chorus on stage Saturday afternoon. His parents, Toby Champion and Michelle Day, moved to Indianola from an eco-village in Missouri three years ago.

“[Adam] watches with such raw enthusiasm,” Toby said. “We always have to pull him back [from the stage].”

Coming to these kind of fairs, “I come away with a warm sense that so many people around here doing such great work,” Toby added.



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