What Do You Think About the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR?

| 9/24/2010 3:57:15 PM

Tags: question to readers, Mother Earth News Fair,

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If you've come to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS site, flipped through the magazine pages, or visited us on Facebook or Twitter in recent weeks, you've most likely noticed that there's a MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in the works. In fact, it's this very weekend, Sept. 25 and 26. Depending on when you're reading this, you may be gearing up to head to Seven Springs Resort in Pennsylvania to check out the dozens of workshops and presentations we have lined up, or you may be just arriving home after a great weekend of homesteading fun. When you are back home, we'd love to know, what did you think of the Fair? What were your favorite experiences? If you didn't make it this year, keep in mind that we're hoping to do this again next year. If a MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR comes to your area, what would you most look forward to?

Until then, you can follow what's happening at our new FAIR blog, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.

P.S. If you have photos from this year's FAIR, don't forget to post them at CU, our photo-sharing site. And if you blogged about it, let us know!

10/25/2010 11:03:32 AM

My husband and I attended on saturday and I was VERY disappointed in my first Mother Fair. Admission price was TOO much for what, as one comment said, was a home show. Admission for the PA home and garden show in Pittsburgh is not that much and you see more. And the crowds! OY!! The booths inside were miserable to try and navigate! So we gave up and didn't get to see half of them. But my biggest complaint is that EVERY seminar we wanted to attend was FULL! This was the entire reason we came, so we could talk to experienced people in the areas we are interested in learning more about.....I had spent 2 weeks marking the seminars I wanted to see. I was hugely excited for a few of them. We were both hugely disappointed in the fair overall. Everything from admission price to too little space and food quality. Even if you had far more people than was expected....It was still lacking. Pretty much the entire fair was a disappointment. The only thing I liked was that for my $20 admission, you also handed out MEN Fair guides and in the back are websites for most all of the exhibitors/speakers. I fear that the next time, I may just go to the internet for my information first and not even bother with coming to a MEN Fair. Please take all of these complaints, and suggestions to heart and make the next fair better, for us faithful MEN readers expected so much more from Mother Earth.

9/30/2010 4:30:18 PM

I attended on Saturday and was very disappointed with the Fair. The food was horrible and expensive - where's the local, organic, plant-based fare? I'm fairly local and this is tomato, corn, potato, squash overload time The site was poorly laid out, difficult to navigate, handicap accessibility disaster. That is not the right facility for that type / size and nature of gathering. But that probably has a lot to do with the relationship of 7 springs and Ogden publishing. If only more people know about the history of 7 springs management and the impact on the local jobs and management. Rooms crowded, speakers not audible, presenters unprepared - with excuses on not being familiar with the equipment, not used to presenting -Huh? I've been to many first time, inexperienced festivals and they blew MEN Fair away for charm, information delivery, local spirit, logistics, layout, idea sharing, innovation. You were in the state of PA Farm Show with sheep to shawl competitions and cow to ice cream demos. Why not adapt that to reflect Mother Earth News champion of sustainability? Love the yurt raising concept proposed elsewhere, produce processing. More games & Dialogue...where was the music? I thought there was supposed to me music? Volunteers I spoke to at the kids tent said the programming was weak, not big enough, not engaging. Signage was weak - small or non-existent. If you couldn't read a map, you were doomed. Best part was the weather and the $10 scrip.

jason brandenburg
9/30/2010 8:25:55 AM

Okay...here's my take on the Fair. I only drove 2 hours to get there and my hotel and tickets were a birthday gift. My parents also attended. Saying that, i would have been upset had i drove farther than that or paid for my stay. YOu should seriously consider on site camping next year. $20-$30 Buffets and horrible carnival stand. Please don't say that all the chicken on a stick was local, sustainably raised, organic chicken. It could have been! With all the lack of preperation you had plenty of time to contact local, quality poultry and vegetable producers and had them each raise X amount of additional flock/veggies. It could easily have been done withing a 100 mile radious. Local corn and potato boil?

jason brandenburg
9/30/2010 8:24:02 AM

Some of the presenters were horrible. I saw one lady speaking on raising pigs introduce her self and then say "i dont know public speaking" and just shrugged her shoulders and staired at the crowd. The only beekeeping person worth seeing was BeeLanding, but with no interest in top-bar hives it was very interesting. The woman that taught beekeeping (148), Gretchen Smith?, spouted about herself for ten minutes, gave tons of horribly wrong and misleading info, then scolded an attendee for asking a basic question. I had to walk out, i was embaressed for you Mother. Kathy Harrison was absolutley awesome and the lady that presented the sheep workshops also. I can't say that i was put off by all of the presenters pushing thier books...some of the author presenters were very good, but again, some weren't. Where were the greats of sustainability? I was glad to see some of the vendors that were there, confused by others. Two huge machine advertisers i was really hoping to see were DR and Kobuta...not to be found. The timber framing was nice, but no Yurt company? Really, i would have loved to see Colorado Yurts there. Give them 2 part workshop, put it up one day, take it down the next. I didnt understand why Mother would have hosted some vendors. Example, the lady selling $30 wooden spoons. They werent even hand made, they were CnC cut, you could see the matching tool marks. What is sustainable about that. I wont even say anything about the presentation rooms....

andre blanchard
9/30/2010 6:36:02 AM

Thoroughly enjoyed the 1st MEN Fair in Seven Springs with my wife. The lecturers were all very knowledgeable and we learned a lot. Only disappointed in the low capacity rooms for certain sessions which prevented me from attending several sessions I would have otherwise attended. I am sure this problem has been mentioned here several times and will be taken into account next year.

9/29/2010 12:02:10 PM

My husband and I attended the fair on Saturday afternoon. Although we had a good time and it was overall very interesting, I have a few complaints... 1. $20 is too much to get into what boils down to be a home show. Yes, it was interesting, but I was still paying good money to listen to people try to sell me things. And ordering the $15 "discount" tickets ahead of time was a joke, because there are service fees added to the $15 price. I think $15 at the door and $10 (with NO extra fees) online would have been more reasonable. 2. I couldn't have possibly been the only vegetarian there. Unless I missed a whole area of the fair, the food was very disappointing. Every item at the M.E.N. food booth was meat, so I ended up buying a veggie pita from the disgusting and over-priced carnival food stand. I was looking forward to some farm fresh local food, not fast food slop from a frat boy with a bad attitude.

bob farabaugh
9/29/2010 10:24:49 AM

We enjoyed both days very much. As to the food, we ate inside both days. Saturdays buffet was 11$ and was excellent. chicken, wild caught cod and egplant parm. along w soup,salad bar and dessert. On Sunday we ate next door. very fine quality sandwich fixins along with soup, salad and dessert. No waiting either. If we lived a little closer I would go there just for a meal once in a while. there were state park camping sites nearby as well as several private campgrounds. Sunday was more satisfying than Saturday. We knew where things were located and the crowds were not as overwhelming. It was difficult On Saturday to get into the presentations you chose. Obviously, the turnout was greater than expected. Great for MEN, not so much for those who didnt get in. I hope it will be back at 7 Springs again next year. We will certainly come back.

9/29/2010 10:19:32 AM

Our family went on Saturday. We loved it but have a few suggestions. 1. I think there needs to be stations geared toward kids and teenagers. What can they do to help with saving energy, recycling and etc. I think if there were activities and fun info on saving our planet they would have enjoyed it more. They really want to do their part to help and they thought there would be things there for them, but the only station we found was for the very young kids. Our daughters are 12 and 14. I also overheard other people saying the same thing at the Fair. 2. The line to check out in the books section was very long. I waited in line what seemed an eternity to buy our purchases. There also wasn't enough room to stand and we had to keep moving to allow people to walk by. 3. There should be more space between vendors and the ones across the isle from them. We had a very difficult time getting around with all the people and also the fact that we had a wheelchair on top of it made it especially hard. Outside was fine and we seemed to spend more time there because of it. Overall though we had a great time and learned a lot!

9/29/2010 8:45:53 AM

(...continuation) 6) Longer exhibitor hours - There wasn't enough time to really check out all of the exhibits and do all of the available workshops. It would be nice if the exhibits were open for several hours before and/or after the workshops to make it easier to take in all that the fair had to offer. 7) Better workshop descriptions - Some workshops had nothing more than a title listed in the booklet. I skipped some workshops I might have otherwise attended had I known more details. 8) Clear indications if presenter is a company representative - I tried to choose only workshops where I wouldn't feel like I was sitting through a sales pitch. Unfortunately one of the workshops I attended was presented by representative of a specific company who targeted the presentation to their product, rather than providing good, overall information. Had I know before hand who the presenters were I likely would have chosen a different workshop. 9) Better communication between organizers and presenters - It would be good to know that the description in the booklet of a workshop is going to match what the presenter has in mind. This could have prevented the Sustainable Beekeeping fiasco on Sunday. 10) Teaching exhibits - I enjoyed the vendor exhibits, but would have really liked to see more exhibits that were aimed at teaching about a given topic. This could allow more hands-on/one-on-one learning than the workshops were able to provide. I'm looking forward to the next fair.

9/29/2010 8:34:20 AM

My wife and I drove up from SouthEastnern Kentucky for the fair. We had a great time and can't wait for the next fair. I do have several suggestions, however, that I think could improve the fair the next time around. 1) Longer workshops - Many of the presenters had to skip portions of their presentations because they ran out of time. Even for introductions to a topic 45 minutes was often not enough. Even an hour would have been better. 2) More in depth workshops - The introduction workshops were great for topics I had little or no experience with, but more in depth workshops would have been great for topics I was already familiar with. I would love to see some half-day workshops offered on some of the more popular topics. 3) More time between workshops - With the long lines to get into the workshops I found myself having to leave some workshops early just to get into the next workshop. It would be nice to have more time between workshops to prevent this issue. 4) Larger rooms, more seating outside, etc - As has already been suggested several times, larger rooms and more seating for the outdoor workshops would be nice. 5) Alternative Building Workshops - I had hoped to see some workshops on alternative building (Earthship, cob, straw bale, cordwood, ICFs, log cabins, etc). (continued)

ginny d.
9/28/2010 7:11:06 PM

My husband and I drove 7 hours from Upstate NY to attend MEN fair and though we enjoyed ourselves, I would rate the event about a 5. Disappointed in the location as our budget could not handle cost of staying on site. Found a good deal with a Somerset hotel but that was 30 minutes away. Rooms for seminars were too small with too few seats. I agree that some presenters were not prepared. Very disappointed that we could not get to all sessions we wanted to. What was with that almost 2 hour block of free time? The vendors were not quite what I had hoped for. Where were the local craftsmen or suppliers? Would have been wonderful to have ongoing demonstrations of crafts like spinning, knitting, weaving or candle making. Food was terrible; not healthy and too expensive, with a 45 minute wait for a burger. Why wasn’t a local school group selling baked potatoes? Some warning about the food would have meant us coming prepared with our own. Why was the seed exchange message not posted until Friday? By that time we were already in PA, too late to bring any seeds. Some of the presenters I did see were great, enthusiastic and informative. I heard very few negative comments, just about the food and getting shut out of a seminar. Location was beautiful and we really lucked out with weather. A good first event but I find it hard to believe that no one on staff had been to other fairs and so no one had firsthand knowledge of what attendees were going to expect.

9/28/2010 7:05:08 PM

Sorry MOTHER readers for this being out of order. Please read 1 , 2 - 5. A rant, sure is, BUT I had seven long hours of driving to think about it. All I wish, PEACE, LOVE, HAPPINESS Ron

9/28/2010 7:00:51 PM

continued 5 Sure, you will promise us all you will do better job at the next time. Sorry to say, you don't get off that easy! NO EXCUSES, you have had years of EXPERIECE in the business and corporate world. 40 years experience, remember? HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOTHER, you have access to hundreds of marketing, event planners and untold specialists to put this on RIGHT the first time. Excuses are NOT accepted. Are you like BP? NOT MY FAULT! It was Halliburton. No, it was Deepwater Horizon . I know, it's Barack's fault. See, very easily settled. Now, is this the time I threaten to cancel my subscription to MOTHER? Hardly, it's the best publication out there. In fact, it is the only subscription I have. What I would say is, give me my money and time we spent back! Our time on Earth and money is too hard earned. MOTHER, you taught us that! Can't do that? Sorry, I won't be attending the next one. Can't afford your fees as I "live a frugal, self-sufficient, almost a monastic lifestyle." Thanks for that lesson MOTHER. ON A HAPPY NOTE, best programs viewed by me were by Wanda Urbanska and the food preservation GURU (two programs), by Kathy Harrison. MANY MANY KUDUS. Smooth keynote speaker - Perry Jones, "I listened to you til the cows came home." You made my weekend. WEATHER: GOD is great, GOD is GOOD. Perfect!!!! Cheryl, REMEMBER YOUR PROMISE

9/28/2010 6:55:04 PM

continued 4 PROGRAMS: Very first program, funny, I had to stand for the entire session of "Create Your Own Edible Landscape." The Volunteer in the Entry Area could not direct me even where to go. Even though I was a half hour early, all seats / straw bales were already taken! Easy to sort this one out, SEATING FOR 25 FILL QUICKLY!!! What were you thinking MOTHER? The namesake tent, "Mother Earth News" had 25 seats! This was a common theme on all programs, very few seats, upset and very tired people. FOOD - Think of it. That is why most of us were there! Not food, as in eating,(that too) but as in food quality, health, and safety. Look at what you expected us to eat. Not much above State Fair / Carnival food. Fatty, greasy, unhealthy, and poorly prepared. Waited in line 45 minutes!!! For what? Mr. Nutting, CHA-CHING!!!!! I can see why you scheduled one hour and forty-five minutes WITHOUT any programs. You wanted full profit potential from the food concessions. MOTHER, you squandered our valuable time. MOTHER, please say you're sorry. Next time, FILL EVERY HOUR with programs. Start earlier, finish later. Give us some value for our hard earned dollars. SUGGESTION: Make agreements / concessions with LOCAL clubs, organizations and schools. Challenge them to prepare local foods that are fast, healthy, and delicious. Baked potato or corn-on-the-cob anyone? YUM -YUM

9/28/2010 6:53:37 PM

continued 2 As I ponder the mindset of the readership of Mother Earth News, would $86 per person, per night, be a acceptable option for lodging for the average person. I DOUBT IT!!!!! Has this MOTHER editorial staff lost its way? Maybe a little reality check is in order here folks! Quickly, a posting requesting info on state campsites in the near area appears. Now that’s' a true MOTHER reader!!! A little touch of reality, a true kindred spirit. For us, a hotel of $50.00 per night, was more to our keeping. Yes, our drive would be 18 miles one way, BUT saving $366 is more of keeping "living a frugal, self sufficient, almost a monastic lifestyle." Waste of gas, yes. Our Bad, yes. Sorry. So slap me with a zucchini. Later, we were to find out, a slight omission was made. Seven Springs Mountain Resort is OWNED by the parent corporation, Ogden Newspapers' Topeka magazine affiliate, Ogden Publications. The company's publications include Mother Earth News, Utne, Natural Homes, Grit and American Life and Traditions.. Go figure! Heck, the owners own part of the Pittsburgh Pirates. In fact, worth, 6.5 billion $$$$. When Mother Earth News Fair Facebook made a call for suggestions /topics / speakers, I could not hesitate! I had to have the ultimate in Urban Homesteaders, the Dervaes family from Pasadena, California. I promptly contacted Ogden Publications and Facebook site staff. Response was, wow, what a great idea!

9/28/2010 6:52:20 PM

continued 3 To keep the story short, it fell through as Mother Earth News Fairs' budget was "living a frugal, self-sufficient, almost a monastic lifestyle." In other words, cheap and shortsighted! Better to draw from Ogden Publications resources and editorial staff than to spend money on quality draw speakers. Here was the one chance for setting the bar high, a true meeting of the clanship of MOTHER. After all, it's was a celebration of 40 years of Mother Earth News. My hope, Mother Earth News was going to have the best-of-the-best in order to self-perpetuate a much needed event. Did it happen? Why do you think I am writing this? A suggested dream team for me would have been: Dervaes Family Michael Pollan Joel Salatin Barbara Kingsolver Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen Barbara Damrosch and Eliot Coleman Novella Carpenter Abigail R. Gehring Barbara Kilarski for comic relief, Ed Bagley & Bill Nye What did we get? Many of the KEYNOTE SPEAKERS were well received, well spoken, interesting, and lightly engaging (homogenized), but still, what we received was, those already affiliated in some way with, you guessed it: Mother Earth News, Utne, Natural Homes, Grit and American Life and Traditions. What we were given was second stringers folks. Don't believe me, WIKI each one. NADA, ZIP, NULL, NIXT, ZILCH ......... Funny huh? Was MOTHER yet again, leading by example by "living a frugal, self-sufficient, almost a monastic lifestyle."

9/28/2010 6:46:51 PM

To Cheryl Long, Editor-In-Chief MOTHER, glad to have had the chance to meet you in person Per your suggestion, I am submitting my comments, with expectations that they will be posted in full MOTHER, as an avid reader since the very beginning, Issue #1, I jumped out of my seat when the First Mother Earth News Fair was announced. Seven hours away, count me in! Told the wife, "Road Trip." Without hesitation, I submitted my vacation forms and had to argue my case, as vacations are not normally approved during this time period. At first, I think RESORT (Seven Springs Mountain Resort)? Surely Mother wouldn't steer us wrong. In issue-after-issue, year-after-year, MOTHER touted us as living a frugal, self-sufficient, almost a monastic lifestyle. Always frugal, avoiding unwanted waste, and always, but always, taking the environment into consideration. Surely MOTHER wouldn't lead us astray. When Mother Earth News Fair Facebook announced the RESORT room rates of $86 per night, per person,my jaw dropped. Yes, this included Fair admission REMEMBER - A SPECIAL PRICE for MOTHER attendees. BUT in my case, 3 nights, 2 adults, that equaled $516.00! How many goats will I have to milk to earn that much? I can hardly say, it's "living a frugal, self-sufficient, almost a monastic lifestyle." In fact, in my lifetime, we have NEVER stayed at a $172.00per night motel room. But yes, this is a RESORT after all!

9/28/2010 6:13:29 PM

The fair was much larger than I anticipated :0) It was also extremely crowded - to the point of frustration on Saturday. I don't feel the ticket price was unreasonable at all. The food prices were a different story. The speakers were enthusiastic and the topics varied. I did get into everything I wanted to get into but with the exception of a couple sessions felt that the speaker had only begun to touch on what they were there to present on when the session was over. I really wanted more down to earth information the average person could apply to his or her life and garden etc. I didn't take away nearly as much information that I could implement as I hoped. The session titles and descriptions implied more information would be offered than speakers actually provided. I would rather listen to some average Joe gardener with insight and passion than someone who is trying to sell his business or expound on his education. Honestly the session I attended with Cheryl Long of Mother Earth News was by far the best of any I attended. I loved the fair and can only expect it to become better and better!

denise burek
9/28/2010 4:05:46 PM

I was at the fair Saturday and had a wonderful time. The only thing I would suggest is having bigger meeting rooms so that more people could get into the sessions of their choice. I'm sure "Mother" was even surprised by the massive turnout! The people were all friendly and helpful and I love the Seven Springs area. With only being an hour from there I was able to commute to the fair. All in all, you folks did a good job with the first fair and I look forward to coming next year for the whole weekend and volunteering as well.

9/28/2010 12:33:33 PM

I attended the fair on Sunday and was thrilled with the size and scope. The highlight for me was the woman who was doing a spinning demonstration and let me try her drop spindle! I volunteered at the treehouse and had great time with everyone's amazing children! I would suggest having some kind of check in and check out system next time as I was noticing lots of kids hanging out with no parents present. I'm sure some kind of childcare would be greatly appreciated for parents who want to attend workshops and a few more volunteers would make this easy as I'm sure parents would all chip in. A few more activities would be great for the kids and I'm sure some of the vendors could give demonstrations like the wonderful women from Stonyfield given the oppurtunity. Crafts made from recyclables are also an easy activity. You all did a great job for your first fair and I was thrilled to see the interest of people who live near by and impressed with the distances some came from. THANK YOU MEN!!

9/28/2010 12:11:14 PM

As a Master Gardener in NY, I found the sessions to be interesting. I enjoyed the food prep/gardening sessions, and the garden related vendors. It would have been better if all of the sessions, where something was being made on the podium, had an overhead mirror so the audience could see the product better. Repeat the sessions at various times so a person could attend at various times. There were so many interesting topics scheduled during the same time frame it was hard to prioritize which to attend. Give attendee handouts prior to the session starting so to take notes. Have enough handouts for everyone. Provide a website where all handouts can be accessed. Presentors need to be prepared, and familiar with the equipment prior to the session starting, too many excuses for poor prep on their part; i.e. forgot tools at home, do know how this equipment works, etc. The venue was beautiful. Unfortunately the number of stairs you needed to take to get to the locations was not good for those with walking difficulties. Rethink the location for the classroom sessions to avoid the stair issue. The elevator was not convenient to use. The crowds were well managed, except during the lunch period. The food vendor needed to do a better job serving such a large crowd. They need to evaluate their one-at-a-time process. The food was not very good after such a long wait. I brought food on Sunday to eat. All-in-all I will attend again.

9/28/2010 11:42:12 AM

Thank you! Terrific event. I attended Saturday. Gorgeous location. I would like to have heard seminars from green builders who are building homes in a cost-effective manner. Particularly pre-fab green homes. I would also have liked a seminar from someone such as a city planner with ideas that we could take back to our home towns for planning growth with the environment in mind. All of your staff and volunteers were wonderful. Please do this again!

9/28/2010 10:47:21 AM

My husband and I attended for the weekend and had a fantastic time. Thanks. We learned a lot of new material and had a great chance to network with both other attendees and speakers. We, too, have heard the rumors about next year. Everything from the ownership of Seven Springs to the number of years that the conference is committed there. It might be great for you to put correct, up to the minute info on the website, so we are all correctly informed. Another suggestion, several of the sessions that we wanted to see were canceled. Perhaps a central board might list both programming and location changes. Overall, we had a great time, from the first crush of attendees to the "updated" lines to get into the programs. Thanks and keep up the great work. It was wonderful to see so many headed down the "green road".

9/28/2010 9:20:09 AM

I thought the fair was great! The glitches were to be expected for an inaugural event. I luckily was able to help out for both days and found it rewarding to talk with so many people. I would like to see a fair in each of the four corners of the country. Seven Springs could be the site for the northeast while other locations chosen for the southeast, southwest and northwest. I definitely think the interest is there and the movement will continue to grow.

joy ryniak
9/28/2010 7:33:04 AM


9/28/2010 2:49:25 AM

Great first fair! Suggest doing it in the summer so children can come and stay longer. The weekend trip was quite exhausting since we had to drive 7 hours ( but well worth it!) Would love to see more hands on activities for adults and children, would probably have more farmers' produce in the summer, would prefer having a different fair site every year so we can visit different areas. The food could use some improvement. Would have loved to see more homemade/direct from the farms food. My husband and I volunteered on both days and we loved it! Thank you for the great experience.

donna street
9/27/2010 10:04:17 PM

My husband, daughter, son-in-law and I attended both days and Bob and I were both able to volunteer on both days. We were all very impressed and had a fabulous time. The area is beautiful and it was so refreshing to have such a location. A big city location would have turned us off cold, thank you for choosing Seven Springs. It's true that there were some glitches, and they were difficult for some to deal with. But, overall this was an amazing experience and one we hope to repeat many times over. Thank you, Mother for making this something we will remember for a long time and for treating your volunteers so well. Donna, Bob and family

stan wawrzynak
9/27/2010 9:47:11 PM

Would like to see a more central location so the western states felt included.If You had it in mind to be an eastern fair how about a western fair. Thanks Stan

christy baraff
9/27/2010 7:09:10 PM

My family and I attended the fair with another family. We loved the vendors and the workshops that we were able to get into. The venue was nice, but not adequate for the amount of people who attended. I was very pleased to see so many people interested in sustainable, green living. However, I was disappointed in the options for food for those of us who are vegetarian. It seemed that Seven Springs was in charge of the food vending, and did not take into account the food interests of the people that would be in attendance. Also, as I took my children to the fair, I was extremely disappointed in the activities planned for children. I would have loved to see some hands on things for the kiddos to do. My little ones were really bored! It made the weekend difficult for the adults who were fighting crowds to see and do what we wanted to do. Overall, I loved the fair, and hope to attend again next year!

9/27/2010 7:08:11 PM

I attended both days of the fair, and was delighted to attend, as I have loved Mother Earth as one of my favorite magazines since it first came out! Seven Springs was within a good driving distance from me, and I love the area, so that was a plus. For a first fair, and with such a crowd, you did a great job. Incredible number of speakers, some exceptional, with lots of inspiration and details to work on at home. I heard a rumor that a contract was signed for the next 5 years at Seven Springs. Although it is a wonderful place, it is difficult to support that many people in hourly workshops comfortably. The hallways are too small, and the keynote speaker stage was too difficult to find and access. I know the price was incredibly low, which is SO great, and maybe getting a bigger conference center would drive the price up too much. I just don't think that Seven Springs can hold that many comfortably, know matter how well planned. Also, I am vegan, and support local farmers, and really expected the food to be farm fresh. I don't know, maybe that is asking too much, but I bet local farmers/cooks could team up next time, and present some alternatives to the "state fair" type items there. Thanks for all the hard work involved to organize and put this on. It was much appreciated! Next year, I'd like to bring more people!

paula spalding
9/27/2010 3:54:16 PM

My husband and I had reservations from the very first email we received announcing the fair! It lived up to every bit of our expectations! The resort staff was wonderful - kind, friendly and helpful. The sessions we attended were well thought out and presented very well. All of the speakers seemed to be surprised at the turnout, so we are assuming that attendance was a bit higher than was expected, which is GREAT! We had no problem finding the rooms we needed when we needed them. Friday evening, we did a test run and made sure to write down the times and locations of everything we needed to see on a piece of paper so we didn't miss anything! We were hoping to buy some local produce to bring home, so we were slightly disappointed that there were no farmers markets set up, but it was off-set by the knowledge we gained. We had our favorite speakers, but enjoyed every session and brought something away from each one.

9/27/2010 3:36:37 PM

I was there Saturday, in fact I was one of the volunteers. I had a great time and met tons of wonderful people. I thought there was an amazing variety of topics and exhibits and vendors. I think there was such an overwhelming response and attendance, the presentations on levels 3 and 4 were hard to get to at various times of the day. This is a learning experience and I'm sure next year those in charge will take this into account during planning. Even though some things were hard to get to everyone I met was very positive and enthusiastic about the Fair.

heather kuzio
9/27/2010 3:35:47 PM

My husband and I attended the fair on Sunday. We had a great time and really enjoyed the many booths and the fair bookstore. We wished that there had been smaller sessions that you could sign up for in advance. We wanted to go on the wild edible weeds walk, but there were so many people going on the walk already that we didn't go because we figured we wouldn't be able to hear or see anything. Also, some fair signs along the main routes to come into Seven Springs Resort would have saved us a quarter tank of gas as we drove around in circles looking for the place. I would love to have a fair like this again. The buffet we ate for lunch was delicious, and having musicians playing in the dining area was a nice touch. Thank you for a nice way to spend a Sunday!!!

veronica vatter
9/27/2010 3:33:25 PM

I LOVED it. Even my dad loved it, which is saying something. I agree you should sell the seminars on dvd. I loved the location, which was close enough for me to attend. Great location in the outdoors and with space for the animals. I just wish there had been more seminars on sunday which was when I went. More food vendors would have been nice too. Thank you Mother!

louise thomas
9/27/2010 1:41:08 PM

I thought it was a great fair. It was hard getting around at first and we had to ask where things were almost all day Saturday but caught on a little better by Sunday. We enjoyed all the presentations and wish we could have heard more. My suggestion would be to tape all sessions or make them available in some format. They could be sold at the fair or ordered via your website. That is what Chautauqua Institution in New York does. Since we had never been there before, we had a lot to learn.

9/27/2010 1:30:01 PM

We attended on Sunday only. Enjoyed all the vendors, but was unable to locate the speaker I wanted hear. Everything was very spread out and it was difficult to find/locate things. The maps were a bit confusing. Also, would have been nice to have had some food vendor choices that were local grown healthy choices. The food vendors there were very disappointing and not a good reflection on what Mother Earth News supports.

john h. rosenhamer
9/27/2010 12:22:54 PM

My wife and I enjoyed the Fair and the tremondous amount of information we found there. Saturday was a dream. The presenters did a wonderful job. We bought books, saw great exhibits and talked to a great group of vendors. Conversations with attendees were also very interesting. We are looking forward to the next fair and hoping we are able to attend. Sunday was a bit cold, but our morning presentations were great even though we were very cold listening to the presentation in the Earth News Stage. But the afternoon was diferent and very frustrating. The first session was great because it was in the exhibit hall. But for the next ones we had to go to the seminar halls on the floor below the exhibits. 1. We were made to stand outsid in the cold in line to get into the halls. 2. The rooms were changed and changing as we were trying to find them. 3. There was no signage to let us know where they were changed to. 4. Even as you found a room, it could be changed. 5. There seemed to be only one person making all these changes and only one other person there to tell what was going on. And they were so busy often there was no one around the enterance to the hall. After fighting this for about 15 min and seeing it was not going to get any better we left for home. It took too much effort to try to find the sessions we wanted to attend. Saying all this in no way detracts from the rest of the fair. It was great. Getting to the seminar rooms was VERT BAD both days.

cindie nearhoof
9/27/2010 12:20:41 PM

I was also at the fair over the weekend and was amazed at the number of people in attendance. The exhibits were great, even tho they were crowded because of the number of people there; but I learned alot. Hopefully this will be something to look forward to on a yearly basis.

9/27/2010 11:47:12 AM

We live in Texas, Penna, ios a bit of a reach even on our scooters that give us 70+ mpg. Maybe next time you will not forget those of us west of the endless mountians.

9/26/2010 7:25:53 PM

The photos don't do it justice! Yes indeed, so many folks and the space wasn't adequate on Saturday. Before the fair opened on Sunday, modifications were made and the breakout rooms had more space. (For those of you who were there on Sat, but not Sunday, the "Seasons" rooms were opened to double the space. Also, the passive solar workshops were in much larger rooms on Sunday.) Staff (both MEN and 7-Springs staff members) were always pleasant and patient. For the first MEN Fair - it far exceeded my expectations. I loved it! It was a wonderful weekend and we're looking forward to next year.

erin baldwin
9/26/2010 3:48:53 PM

My family and I attended the Mother Earth News Fair on Saturday. Very pleased! I enjoyed the outside vendor area a great deal; a lot of great vendors to take in. It was very educational and interesting. The workshops were also great. I was astonished at the number of people there! The venue was nice, but needed to be much bigger for the amount of people there. At points, we were unable to move through the walkways it was so congested. We also messed two of the workshops we hoped to see because the speakers very popular, but in small rooms. The good thing about the congestion... there were so many people there and interested in everything that Mother Earth News represents! Please do this again next year! Some suggestions: Have the speakers give their presentations multiple times so everyone has a chance to attend. Also, bring some of your most popular articles to life. I sure it will just keep getting better! We had three generations in attendance... my son is just 3 months old. I hope we can make it a tradition to attend! Be sure and consider West Virginia next year. I work at Snowshoe Mountain Resort and we would love to have you!!!!

mother earth news fair


Oct. 21-22, 2017
Topeka, KS.

More than 150 workshops, great deals from more than 200 exhibitors, off-stage demos, inspirational keynotes, and great food!