Residents flock to Earth Day celebration at Expo Center
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent April 20, 2013 4:48PM
Joy Marburger of Chesterton looks over the different designs at the rain barrel decorating contest during the annual Earth Day event at the Porter County Expo Center in Valparaiso, Ind. There were a variety of vendors, exhibits and activities for both adults and kids. | Stephanie Dowell~Post-Tribune
For more on programs offered by the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County, go to www.ItMeansTheWorld.org.
Updated: May 22, 2013 6:48AM
VALPARAISO — Lisa Crizer’s two granddaughters used beat-up drumsticks to bang away on the old pots, lids and paint cans that made up the Recycle Cycle on Saturday, one of the many kid-friendly features of this year’s Northwest Indiana Earth Day Celebration at the Porter County Expo Center.
“We’re all about Earth Day,” said Crizer, of LaPorte, adding, “I was raised on this kind of stuff. I love bringing the kids to this. Being raised with conservationism really made an impression on my life, so I hope I can do that for them.”
Other like-minded folks showed up for the celebration as well. This was the eighth year for the event, which Donna Stuckert, community education coordinator for the Recycling and Waste Reduction District of Porter County, expected to draw around 2,000 people.
“I think with all of the programming and everything going on (Saturday), it really has drawn the biggest crowd ever,” Stuckert said.
In addition to around 80 vendors, the day’s activities included the chance to vote on rain barrels decorated by local school children, and games and other activities sponsored by Radio Disney.
The event has grown, filling three buildings at the Expo Center this year, Stuckert said. This also was the second year at the Expo Center, after moving from Sunset Hill Farm County Park because of April’s unpredictable weather.
“It’s funny — while we’re here for the environment, on days like this, no one wants to be out in it,” Stuckert said of the chilly, breezy day.
Marie Hitz had four of her kids in tow as they attended the event for the first time. Hitz bought a few tree saplings and picked up brochures on nutritional supplements and other products.
Hitz said the Portage family recycles at home, and she liked the Earth Day event.
“It’s good for the kids. It’s educational,” she said. “It’s important to reduce waste.”