| 3/2/2016 10:22:00 AM

 DIY Showcase

The first (annual?) MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Texas was an informative, timely, and wildly successful event. At least from my perspective the fair was good for two consecutive banner days. An estimated 30,000 people attended the weekend event in central Texas, coming to Belton from the Rio Grande Valley, Amarillo and Dallas, Austin, Houston and all points in between. Arkansans, New Mexicans, Louisianans and yes, even Oklahomans found their way to central Texas to witness the “Living Wisely” magazine come to life.

The DIY Showcase which myself and Charlie and Laura Blaylock staffed both days was overrun with curious and excited people seeking information to assist them in their quests to go organic, off-grid, and live a self-sufficient life. We demonstrated our Do-It-Yourself gadgets to a massive number of attendees, including a homemade wind generator, an aquaponics system with live plants and fish, a raised bed row cover heated with Christmas lights brought in by Jim and Julie Christie, a portable solar water heater, and a rain catchment/auto watering system for chickens, complete with two live hens.

Did you know that kids love chickens? I can vouch for maybe 20,000 of them who loved the hens I brought for the demo. Little buggers can’t resist a friendly, free-range chicken. Who can?

The MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff working the fair had it buttoned down tight. A thousand miles from home in an unfamiliar location at a venue they’d never seen before and the fair ran smooth as silk. The Bell County Expo staff was equally prepared and professional. Every vendor I spoke with swore they’d be back next year if the fair has a second run, which will most likely happen. Fairgoers moved about the exhibit halls in droves, perusing and often purchasing the hundreds of goods and services offered.

In the brief time I spent shopping I managed to find a huge jug of local honey from Kelley Honey Farms, Chef Flaco’s Salsa, several books in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Bookstore, a couple of T-shirts and bumper stickers from Northern Sun Merchandising, and vegetable seeds from Brim Seed Company and Jung Seeds. Everyone in attendance seemed to enjoy the festive, cooperative and friendly vendors, speakers and staff associated with the event.

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