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Earth Day Jam continues despite rainy weather

By Shavonne Walker
shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Melissa and Felton Donnell swayed to the music of Salisbury-based band, 9daytrip, on what was their first wedding anniversary. The band was among 15 that took one of two stages during the sixth annual Earth Day Jam.

This year’s event had a smaller-than-expected turnout because of severe weather warnings a few days earlier and rain the night before. However, local and regional vendors still set up tables to sell food and other goods.

This year marked the first year the event, which benefits local nonprofit Happy Roots, was held at the Rowan County Fairgrounds. Happy Roots provides nature-based therapeutic and educational programs like its partnership with the Town of East Spencer to get its community garden off the ground.

The town received a Morehouse School of Medicine grant to get the garden started. Happy Roots will add to the garden. Happy Roots also partnered with Henderson Independent High School to use its greenhouse to start plants for community gardens. The organization is working to expand gardens at the school.

Happy Roots will also work to revitalize the West End Community Garden.

Happy Roots and Earth Day Jam co-founder Ashley Honbarrier said the organization hasn’t received any grants so they rely on fundraisers like Earth Day Jam to fund current and future projects.

Honbarrier said they did have to make some adjustments with the weather including moving one performance stage indoors.

Included at the event was also a raffle where the winner could win a new car from Ben Mynatt Nissan.

The Donnells came to support their friends who play in the band, 9daytrip, and their friends at local bar Sgt. Pepper’s, located in downtown Salisbury as well as the event in general.

“That’s awesome,” Felton said of what the event benefits.

Melissa said they were also there to support the local vendors.

Marion Casasanta from Charlotte attended the event with her husband to support their daughter-in-law who is the owner of Little Moon Botanicals. The couple watched their grandson while his mother set up a table. It was their first time attending Earth Day Jam.

“This is great. It’s a lot of fun,” Casasanta said.

Tammy Conley attended the event with her granddaughter, 3-year-old Ava Grace.

“I wanted to hear some new music and let her play and dance,” Conley said.

Salisbury native Ginger Hill, owner of Simply Ginger, makes and sells handmade, homemade and homegrown teas, dream catchers, soap, essential oil products that include salves, bath soaks, beard balm and other natural products.

Hill said she knows Happy Roots founders Stacey Carter and Ashley Honbarrier.

“I love that Happy Roots is all about gardening and it’s all about love of community,” Hill said.

“It’s just fun. We’re here to support each other,” she said.

Blackberry JAM, a Lenoir-based bluegrass/country band performed during the event. The band, whose members are made up of a few brothers and sisters, ages 11 to 19, performed a set.

Gideon White said he thought it was a great idea behind the event to give back to the community.

“I’m a fan of anything that gives back,” said Dawson Clark.

The other members include Averi and Dalton Sigmon, Kemdyn Clement and Clark’s brother, Lincoln.

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