The Sixth Annual Earth Day Festival in Oak Ridge this weekend will feature a jumping competition for dogs, a kids’ race and bicycle rodeo, and shoe collection and recycling drives.
It will also feature more than 60 exhibitors and live music. It’s scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Oak Ridge Civic Center.
The popular dog jumping competition debuted in Oak Ridge last year. It’s the Smoky Mountain Dock Dogs “Spare the Big Air Challenge,” and it features a 26,000-gallon swimming pool and four events: Big Air, Extreme Vertical, Speed Retrieve, and Iron Dog. It starts at 4 p.m. Friday at A.K. Bissell Park and ends at 5 p.m. Sunday.
This year’s free festival also features an Eco Expedition, a month-long letterboxing and geocaching event that is already under way and is devoted to exploring the city and its greenways in order to find clues that lead to hidden prizes. Other new events include “Earth Alley,” a showcase that exhibits local artists. In addition, local antique dealers are invited to showcase their wares along “Recycle Road,” a press release said.
The festival promotes environmental education and encourages individuals to create and contribute to a sustainable community, a press release said.
The Green Mile race is scheduled from 9-11 a.m. Saturday at the Oak Ridge High School track. It’s free, and it features one-mile races based on grade level, open to children and teenagers from grades K–12.
Besides running the Green Mile race, kids can also bring their bikes to the educational Bike Rodeo during Oak Ridge Earth Day in the Oak Ridge Civic Center’s west parking lot, a press release said. Free helmets will be given to the first 75 children under 14, and there will be helmet fittings, a bike safety talk by Oak Ridge Police Department, seat adjustments, minor bike safety checks, a skills course, street safety practice, and other fun bike challenges.
If you are interested in registering for the Green Mile or finding out more about the Bike Rodeo, visit orearthday.org. Green Mile participants can also sign up on the day of the race at 8:30 a.m.
The Soles4Souls shoe drive allows participants to donate “gently used shoes to those in need.” Soles4Souls is a Nashville-based organization that cleans and refurbishes donated shoes of all sizes and styles. This year’s drive began March 27, and contributions will be accepted until the Earth Day Festival ends April 27. In the last two years, the drive has collected more than 15,000 pairs of shoes, a press release said. This year, the Oak Earth Day planning committee plans to collect twice as many.
Shoes may be deposited in one of several collection bins located throughout Oak Ridge and Knoxville. Soles4Souls requests that each donated pair be banded or tied together. All types of shoes are needed: sneakers, flip-flops, high heels, and low heels. Shoes are needed for men, women and children. Shoes can be dropped off at sites listed on the event’s website, orearthday.org, until April 25.
They can also be dropped off at the Soles4Souls benefit concert on April 26 in the Robertsville Middle School auditorium. The benefit concert is hosted by Keep Anderson County Beautiful, and the winner of the local Youth Advisory Board’s “Battle of the Bands” will be opening for two featured bands. Ticket prices are $10 for those over age 18 and $5 for students under 18. The proceeds from the concert will benefit Soles4Souls and will be used to offset the costs of shipping and cleaning the shoes.
Shoes will be accepted from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the festival on Saturday at the Oak Ridge Civic Center and Bissell Park. They may be taken directly to the Soles4Souls booth, or dropped off at the “Erase your Trace” recycling drive. Shoes will also be accepted at the Green Mile Race.
Visit the Earth Day website for more information or if you are interested in sponsoring, volunteering, or being a vendor or exhibitor. The website is at orearthday.org. You can also follow @ORearthday on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook.
If you are a local artist or antique dealer and would like to participate in Earth Alley or Recycle Road, you can also learn more at the website.
Visit orearthday.org/ecoexpedition/ for more information on the Eco Expedition.