BR’s Earth Day on April 27 to be ‘bigger, better than ever’

Getting a realistic estimate of just how many people attend the annual Earth Day in Baton Rouge is tough, as people stream into downtown from all directions and at all times.

But organizers know one thing about this year’s event on April 27: “It’s going to be bigger and better than ever,” said Louisiana Earth Day board member Brenda Nixon. Hundreds of volunteers help make the event a success every year, she said.

Education exhibits and children’s activities run from noon to 5 p.m., with music and other entertainment offered until 8:30 p.m. on four stages in downtown Baton Rouge.

New exhibits this year include the Vegan Village, which will feature Alexander’s Highland Market, The Big Squeezy, New Orleans Veggie Fest and Room for Dessert, a new organic pastry shop specializing in gluten-free and sugar-free pastries.

“This is where we are offering vegetarian food outside the normal festival fare,” Nixon said.

Another expansion is the Earth Day Plant Nursery, where locally grown plants will be available for sale. And there will be a water tent focused on the importance of water resources. Like many of the educational booths, the water tent will feature things people can do to help conserve natural resources like water.

“Aquifers are not something you can bring back if you use too much of that water,” Nixon said.

Other crowd favorites returning this year include the recycling tent, where there are a number of activities for children and education for adults. One of those messages is not only the importance of recycling, Nixon said, but also the importance of buying recycled goods to make sure there’s a market to make recycling profitable.

Other booths will cover topics about Louisiana’s cultural heritage, how to get involved in environmental programs in Baton Rouge, gardening, hands-on activities for children and The Red Shoes: A Sole-ful Labyrinth.

Mayor-President Kip Holden will lead a bike ride through downtown Baton Rouge with registration at noon. Attendees of Louisiana Earth Day are encouraged to ride their bikes to the festival or even from where they park and take advantage of the free bicycle valet parking.

And there will be an Earth For Children Stage.

“We have a lot of good entertainment on the children’s stage, and most of it is by children,” Nixon said.