Earth Day Jam: Could a day on earth have been more perfect?

  • Posted: Saturday, April 20, 2013 11:39 p.m.
    UPDATED: Sunday, April 21, 2013 12:46 a.m.
Jeff Calvert, left, and Rebecca Moore sit with their dog Ginger as they watch the band Moses Jones during the Earth Day Jam festival in Salisbury on Saturday.  The Charlotte band was one of 16 to perform throughout the day.
Jeff Calvert, left, and Rebecca Moore sit with their dog Ginger as they watch the band Moses Jones during the Earth Day Jam festival in Salisbury on Saturday. The Charlotte band was one of 16 to perform throughout the day.

SALISBURY — Paul and Carrie Bardinas might be the perfect “green” couple — one made for attending the Natty Greene’s Earth Day Jam at Saving Grace Farm Saturday.

Both Paul and Carrie drive an all-electric Nissan Leaf car. Paul has set up a charging station at his work, Freirich Foods, to charge his car and also encourage fellow employees to think electric, not fossil.

They raise goats at home, and Carrie milks the goats and gardens as part of their organic approach to life. The family definitely likes to be outside.

Not only do the couple have three boys — Noah, Luke and Jacob, all under 6 — Paul and Carrie Bardinas have kid goats, and they were sort of disappointed in themselves for not bringing them for other children to see at the Earth Day Jam.

The Bardinas family spread out a blanket, set up a couple of chairs in the freshly mown field of Saving Grace Farm and settled in Saturday for a full day of music, food and play.

This Earth Day was green and gorgeous.

“We’re loving it,” Paul Bardinas said. “I could do this every weekend.”

They were not alone. Throughout Saturday afternoon, people steadily flowed into the grounds of Saving Grace Farm to hear 16 different bands, many of them local and donating their performances in this second annual fundraiser for the therapeutic horse farm and the LandTrust for Central North Carolina.

The day’s musical headliner, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, took the stage at 8 p.m., but performances, which started at 11 a.m. Saturday, played late into the evening and early morning on two different stages.

Meanwhile, folks in the crowd took a laid-back, almost 1970s approach to Earth Day. Tie-dye attire was not out of place, for example.

People tossed footballs and disks. Spontaneous games of Wiffle Ball started, and cornhole was played here and there. You could get up and dance by yourself, or grab a partner or two.

Nobody cared.

If you wanted to spread a big canvas on the ground and paint something new, bold and leafy, as Ashley Pierce did, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

“It doesn’t really have a title,” Pierce, an art instructor at Catawba College, said as she added colors throughout the afternoon. “... Hopefully, by the end of the day we’ll have something original.”

For kids, the Earth Day Jam was a nice, breezy day to blow bubbles, make “seed balls,” bounce in the fun houses, eat free apples and oranges, watch magic shows and run full out in your bare feet.

Jill Hoben, founder of Saving Grace Farm and its longtime executive director, provided the land and facilities, while an Earth Day Jam committee, led by Ashley Honbarrier and Stacey Carter, pulled it all together.

“It’s definitely a worthwhile thing,” Hoben said. “It all came together, and the weather’s great. ... It’s awesome.”

Hoben said the Earth Day event brings together many different walks of life, while also giving local musicians a chance to promote their bands.

She recalled how last year’s Earth Day Jam, which was much smaller, sprang from Honbarrier’s idea to have something in her backyard. “I said, ‘Why not have it here?’” Hoben said. “And it was fantastic. I don’t regret it.”

Hoben said she feels blessed to have enough space for such a big event, made bigger this year thanks to primary sponsor Natty Greene’s Brewing Co. of Greensboro. Half of the proceeds of Saturday’s beer sales went to the farm and the land trust.

“And we have a lot of really cool vendors this year,” Hoben said.

Many of the vendors fit in with the Earth Day theme.

Brian Romans, of Team Chevrolet, was showing people two fuel-conscious cars — the Spark and the Volt. The Spark, with a manual transmission, achieves more than 40 miles per gallon on the highway, “and it’s more fun to drive than I’d admit to in public,” Romans said.

Meanwhile, to charge the Volt at home requires only a three-pronged adaptor, Romans said. It’s the perfect kind of car for someone living and working in Salisbury, he added. With a 40-mile charge, a person could commute to and from work and still take care of his errands.

Romans said he loves the Earth Day event and sees it as one more example of how the music and theater scene in Salisbury has exploded in recent years.

Jennifer Osian and Joni Featherstone brought their Gypsy Tree wares to the Earth Day jam. Among other things, they were selling incense, with aromas such as Zen and Sandal Wood.

“I think it’s a great event for Salisbury,” Osian said. “... We have kids running around, and we don’t quite know where they are, but we know they’re safe — and it’s for a good cause.

“We’ll definitely be back next year, if they do it again.”

Edward Marshall and Crystal Cook were representing the We Are All Farmers Permaculture Institute of Union Grove. The purpose of the organization is to increase food and energy responsibility in communities and among individuals.

Marshall and Cook invited people, especially children, to come under their tent to make seed balls to take home. Kids rolled seeds such as corn, pumpkin or beans into balls of powdered red clay.

With a layer of mulch over them, these seed balls could be successfully planted at home without having to resort to using a tiller or plow, Cook explained.

Marshall said a Japanese farmer used this technique and ended up with better crop production than his neighbors who used more conventional methods.

Jessica Wright of Greensboro was selling her homemade soaps, lotions and other body-care products.

“This is our first time here,” she said, “and we’re having a lot of fun. The music is fantastic. There’s really a nice feel to it.”

Amanda, who asked that her last name not be used, said her 4-year-old son, Junior, has been coming to Saving Grace Farm for therapeutic riding sessions for almost two years.

She was donating all the sales from her jewelry Saturday to the farm.

“He’s come a long way,” Amanda said. Now he’s getting on a horse by himself. It’s a big thing for us to see him do that.”

Andrew Demas and his wife, Stephanie, traveled two hours from Ashe County to Salisbury’s Earth Day Jam. At $25 for 16 bands, “the price is really good,” Demas said.

The couple also were using the Salisbury venue as a place to meet friends from Charlotte.

“So far, we’re glad we found you all,” Demas said.

Carter, one of the chief organizers for Earth Day Jam, asked the obvious question Saturday: “Could it be any more gorgeous out here?”

She said everybody who was part of the planning committee came through, holding up their ends of responsibility. Whenever she passed committee members and volunteers Saturday, there were no cross words — only smiles, Carter said.

But back to the green couple, Paul and Carrie Bardinas. They’re environmentally conscious for a simple reason — their boys. “We want land for them when they’re grown,” Carrie says.

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