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Sun and Fun Festival 2018

This year’s fourth annual Summer festival was a gift to the community by Second Congregational Church to increase awareness of how we can take care of God’s earth as well as to let the community better know who we are at Second Congo.

The festival’s kick-off was an evening-before conversation with Vermont Senator Brian Campion about what Vermont is doing on environmental issues and what our state needs more action on. After Brian’s talk, an ice cream CONE social let conversation carry on without any dishes or spoons to wash up or (horrors) discard. (Throughout the festival, drinks were in reusable Mason jars, lunch on washable plates, and plastic was avoided.)

Saturday’s sunny day (without the recent excessive heat and humidity) was perfect for the many displays and activities outdoors in front of the church. A bat cave held bat silhouettes wearing questions about bats and their lives; kids of all ages exploring the cave opened the folded silhouettes to reveal the answers to the questions. Nearby, Cindy Hudson-Knapp painted faces and arms while her assistants signed up kids and helped them choose their designs. Children painted on long reams of paper, producing, in the course of the day, four colorful murals which are now displayed in the church sanctuary. Nearby, congregation members scooped watermelon, lime juice, fresh mint and ice into a blender’s food holder for kids to make their own smoothy by pedaling to whip the ingredients together. Further along, other 2CC members made popcorn in our popcorn machine and scooped it into bags for eager visitors. The center of the church lawn was the Kid Zone where children made giant bubbles, got to shoot whipped cream at their faces from a small catapult and got to make various crafts.

All around the church yard, displays by environmental groups and groups that meet at Second Congo demonstrated composting, bee keeping, provided information on solar panels, permaculture, the work of Habitat for Humanity, wind turbines, family services, and local trails and outdoor opportunities. Indoor sessions throughout the day included Jane Radoccia’s presentation on how Vermonters have historically built in response to weather’s demands, Efficiency Vermont’s presentation on how to slash energy bills, how solar and wind power and Green Energy Financing can benefit homeowners, as well as sessions on composting and beekeeping. Parachute yoga introduced kids and their grownups to poses and actions based on animals. The wildly popular presentation by the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum let kids and adults see and learn about a live toad, snake, rabbit, falcon and owl..

In the parking lot behind the church, Second Congo members introduced visitors to an electric bike and to the ELF battery-and-pedal powered minimalist car both of which they could take for a spin. Jerry Bird displayed his electric-powered car and, in front of the church, Hamilton Topping displayed his hybrid Honda Clarity.

The Hale Mountain Pickers played upbeat, lively music throughout the morning and The Throwbacks played classics from the 50s and 60s in the afternoon. The dining room was lively with people savoring delicious dishes made of local organic produce. Although donations for the lunch were welcome, the lunch, like everything else in Second Congo’s day-long gift of enjoyable learning and experiencing, there was no charge. That local people came, had such a good time and got to know us at Second Congo better was are goal and the day’s success.

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