This FAIR was a great first effort for MOTHER EARTH NEWS. The turn out was more than amazing ... it was overwhelming. There is obviously a lot of interest in all things MOTHER EARTH, and a lot of improvements can be made to the FAIR knowing this. Some ideas are to make it a week-long FAIR offering the classes more than once or twice and using larger classrooms. Even having people sign up for the classes ahead of time would greatly diminish the overcrowding, long lines and waits that occurred. Also, there should be an understanding that most of the seminars are just an intro or glimpse of what the topic is and then a Q&A session afterwards.
Obviously, in 45 minutes you cannot learn everything about any given area. So if you have already read about it and do not have a specific question, then you might want to move on to a seminar that is new to you. On that note, another suggestion is to have hour and a half classes with a half hour break to get from class to class and to look at booths.
The FAIR was a ton of fun once you got over the initial shock of the crowds. There was plenty of livestock to be viewed as seen in my pictures. An animal that I have never considered raising, the alpaca, was present and actually very interesting. The fiber harvested from them is softer and warmer than that of a sheep. It is also an environmental choice for livestock because of their short tongues (which do not pull up plant roots while grazing) and their padded feet (not hooves that may tear up the grazing area). Also in my images, you will see a few of the displayed ways of pumping water without the use of non-renewable resources, such as gravity-fed and river-flow pumps. There was even a windmill present.
Laural Hill seemed to be a common place for not only those of us attending the FAIR but even some of the exhibitors to stay. Here is an image of mushrooms at our camp site. After that is the edible weeds seminar we went to, which was full at 9 a.m. for the 9:15 talk. As you can see in the image, all the seats are full, and there are more people standing in the rear of the room.
A lot of the exhibitors seemed to be small family businesses, which was nice to see. The three women in the image are a woman and her sister and daughter selling natural soaps, salves, shampoos, etc.
Some of the exhibitors had some interesting advertisements, such as “Want to be a real Green goddess?” and “It's a whole new bowl game” — “bowl” referring to the toilet. This particular product is an all-natural spray for your toilet so you can flush less and conserve water.
The image with the gentleman on stage is an example of the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR adapting to the overwhelming show of support by taking a very popular speaker and letting him give an extra seminar in a larger hall. I also had the pleasure of meeting some MOTHER EARTH NEWS employees, which was a real treat.
All of the people I met at the FAIR were very nice, interesting people with a wealth of information to share. All those people were there to learn and eager to ask questions of not only the exhibitors but even other patrons. There were a lot of good ideas being exchanged and new ideas being formed.