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Holmdel Earth Day
Jun 05, 2018

Annual Festival Celebrates Earth Day

By Joanne Colella

Holmdel Earth Day

It is hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since the inaugural Holmdel Earth Day Festival was held. But it’s true, and in the span of two decades, the event, co-hosted by volunteers from Citizens for Informed Land Use (CILU) and the Holmdel Environmental Commission, has grown to become a popular tradition, attracting throngs of township residents and guests to the day-long celebration at picturesque Bayonet Farm on Middletown Road, where one can find rolling fields and verdant forests as far as the eye can see.

This year’s very special milestone event took place on Sunday, April 29. Thankfully, it was a lovely spring day, perfectly suited to the theme to salute nature. Held rain or shine, the Earth Day Festival has seen its share of gloomy, rainy, and cold weather, too, although it never seemed to dampen the enthusiasm or the dedication of the volunteers who help pull it all together.

And what a full day it was, with all sorts of informative and entertaining presentations and activities for visitors of all ages! Throughout the afternoon, guided tours were given of the historic Harding House, former home of the late actress, heiress, and philanthropist Laura Harding, where Katherine Hepburn was a frequent guest. There were also guided walks of the surrounding farmland. In fact, prior to the start of the festival, hikers were invited to begin their morning with a walk through the Ramanessin Greenway Trail, from Holmdel Park to Bayonet Farm, led by former Holmdel mayor Larry Fink, one of the founders of the Earth Day Festival and CILU.

In the upper level of the beautiful Red Barn, live musical entertainment rang through the rafters, with performances by folk and rock bands that included Adam Finchler, Bill Anania, Dan Rauchwerk and Friends, Thomas and Kristin Mueller, and Late4Lunch. Downstairs, on the lower level, the Holmdel Historical Society displayed a Prohibition-era whiskey still, plus there were kids’ activities such as nature crafts with the Holmdel Girl Scouts and animal balloons created by Abhay.

Over at the other end of the wide dirt path was the stately Gray Star Barn, which hosted professional shows that provided the chance to draw and explore with Doodle Dude, learn all about bees and see a real, working beehive up close, and see magnificent, live birds of prey such as hawks and owls. Adorning all the walls were drawings created by students from Village School and Indian Hill Schools for the juried art exhibit.

Elsewhere on the grounds, youngsters (and their parents, too) gathered to ooh and aah over the adorable animals in the Farm Friends Petting Zoo, and under an oversized tent, there were displays by the Central Jersey Beekeepers Association, Climate Change Lobby, Friends of Holmdel Open Space, Holmdel Girl Scouts, Holmdel Green Team, Holmdel Venture Crew 10, Monmouth County Master Composters, Monmouth County Master Gardeners, NY/NJ Baykeeper, Oasis Backyard Farms, Preserve Holmdel, Residents Against Giant Electric, Western Monmouth League of Women Voters, and Woodford Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge.

For those who had worked up an appetite, delicious lunch items and homemade baked goods were available at the Red Bank Deli and the Olde Fashioned Bake Shoppe. With free admission and parking for the entire festival, the proceeds from food sales, as well as specially designed Bayonet Farm t-shirts, would help support future festivals – giving everyone another tremendous Holmdel Earth Day Festival to look forward to next year!