Wow. All I can say is Wow! (Sunday 5:30am Report)

Reader Contribution by Mare Cromwell

Wow. I could write tomes here about the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR at Seven Springs in PA. It’s just an absolutely huge event with more than 1,000 people (more? Be curious to learn the final head count). Nestled into a valley southeast of Pittsburgh, Pa., hundreds and hundreds of us have gathered on beautiful September weekend to learn about living wisely, ‘reskilling’ (Transition Town lingo), gardening, farming, making fuel, and on and on. By the looks of a good number of these folks mingling among us, I think they know far more about sustainability than some of the people who sit or sat on the President’s Council on Sustainability in Washington, D.C.

Where to start? This event is overwhelming. I was overwhelmed yesterday morning after getting my pink band for the two day event. (I was disappointed to learn that the ‘pink’ meant two days of attendance. I thought the girls got pink and the boys got blue. Oh well.)

But just walking inside after getting ‘banded,’ and then trying to figure out the layout of the rooms and workshops, I was not sure if I would ever make it out of the building by the end of the day. I suspect there might still be some people wandering around the halls by Season 4 and 5 workshop rooms, trying to find their way out right now, at 5:45am Sunday morning. There are several levels of numerous workshop spaces, stages, pavilion exhibitor space and that is only the inside. Outside are clusters of tents large and small with a whole other set of exhibitors. Booths ranging from solar-powered water pumps to drying racks for your clothes to miniature cows dot the exhibition area. And those are only some of the outside exhibitors. Inside are a whole other collection of vendors and non-profit organizations.

(By the way, a call-out of thanks to the kind household up here in the condos above the lodge who have not put a security lock on their wifi system so I can actually be punching this keys on the internet from our condo.)

So, instead of babbling on here about the extensive exhibition hall of exhibitors or the intriguing workshops with standing room only (this is a very, very well attended event!) and the human logjams when it was time to move from one workshop to another and the stairways and hallways were thronged with the multitudes — I’m telling you — if you build it, they will come. And this conference is clearly a very timely one and people came out of the woodwork to attend. (Those are sustainably harvested and designed walls of woodwork too.) Even the campground down the road is packed to the gills. Hotel rooms sold out a month in advance. Amazing — the numbers here — I think MOTHER EARTH NEWS may be onto something with this “living wisely” theme, indeed. Yes, folks, it’s about time we started to live a bit more wisely.

Yes, yes, instead of babbling, let’s get to some photos.

My friend, Scott Vandame, was willing to take some photos on his iPhone during the festivities yesterday (Saturday). I’m more of the Neo-Luddite type (probably in good company here). Thanks to Scott, here are some photos from Sat.

Pooh. Am now experiencing technical difficulties. Will have to problem solve this later. Scott took some really cool photos of the Amish draft horses, a wood-powered car (why can’t they make one that will be fueled by politicians? Gosh darn it, the hammer dulcimer player, etc.

Okay, more later… I promise photos.

For the Earth … and have fun!