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Celebrating the Earth: Community helps annual event continue to grow in its 28th year

A fun community fair in the name of planet advocation is what EarthFest is all about.

What began 28 years ago with less than 10 nonprofits and social organizations’ tables outside La Montañita Co-op Food Market has blossomed into 125 tables featuring local artists, nonprofits and other vendors along a two-block span. There is also now an entertainment stage and yoga classes. The event was originated by now retired, La Montañita Co-op Membership Director Robin Seydel. She ran the event for the past 27 years. She still remains part of the event and will be a vendor at this year’s 28th annual event on Sunday, April 22.

“It was her vision and her dream to make it bigger,” said Lea Mae Quale, La Montañita Co-op’s marketing and community director. “So it kind of happened organically. She just had a great support from the neighborhood and our community that it was easy to ask more people to come and to find different kinds of people to table at the event to make it more fun for the people coming. It really started out with us advocating for the planet and turned into just a fun community street fair.”

This year Mayor Tim Keller’s office will be coming out to give a welcoming speech. There will be social and economic justice organizations, artists, environmental advocacy groups including the University of New Mexico’s Sustainability Studies Program, Slow Food ABQ, the Native Plant Society of New Mexico, 350.org, and others.

Pet adoptions from three nonprofits also will be taking place. A Chihuahua rescue group, a Siberian Husky rescue group, and New Mexico Pets Alive will be on hand. There will be entertainment throughout the day by the Ehecatl Aztec Dancers and the National Institute of Flamenco as well as live music by a strolling violinist, MoonHat, the Cali Shaw Band and headliner Le Chat Lunatique.

In the past the event has been just behind La Montañita Co-op on Silver Avenue. This year the parking lot in front of the store will be shutting down as well. There will be more crafts people in the closed area as well as free yoga classes. Grassroots Yoga will host a children’s yoga session at 10:30 a.m. and an adult session from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“I am really excited to see it come to fruition and I’m loving having that front parking lot,” Quale said. “Our neighbors were so accommodating and said absolutely shut down the parking lot. It will be great to have that visibility along Central so people know that it’s happening because sometimes right before the building you could be cruising down Central and have no idea that on the other side of the Nob Hill business center there’s this amazing event happening.”

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