ALTON - The Mississippi Earthtones Festival was a huge hit Saturday on Broadway in Alton with a wide range of vendors and talented entertainment throughout the day till evening.
The Mississippi Earthtones Festival, presented by Alton Main Street and the Sierra Club, is a celebration of the river through art, music, and conservation. The 15th Annual event was held between Easton Street and Langdon Street in Alton from noon until 10 p.m. Saturday.
“At the MEF, we showcase our region’s environmental organizations, as well as local businesses that are working to help “green” residents’ lives,” said Sara McGibany, Executive Director of Alton Main Street.
This year’s theme was “Metamorphosis," and local artists were commissioned to build large installations that enhanced the festival through interactive art experiences.
Christine Favilla, Three Rivers Project Co-Coordinator for Alton’s Sierra Club, said it was exciting for people to get out at the event.
Favilla said the event had a full vendor lineup with a wide assortment of services and entertainment on two stages throughout the day."
She said Mississippi Earthtones is always a plus for expanding the Sierra Club and Alton Main Street's reach. Both Favilla and McGibany have served their organizations in dedicated fashion for many years and are now icons in the Alton area with their work.
“The Sierra Club just celebrated its 129th Birthday in the United States, and Alton has had an active group, The Piasa Palisades Group, for 48 years," Favilla said. "This event was also great for businesses along Broadway. Foot traffic was steady throughout the day and night."
A variety of fun and educational activities were planned for families at the event. Kids made butterfly puddles to go and caterpillar-to-butterfly crafts plus picked up information on pollinators and free butterfly weed seeds at the Sierra Club booth. Native animal experts were on-hand for questions and answers.
Dozens of local artisans offered their nature-inspired, hand-made, and environmentally-friendly wares. A variety of wearable art such as tie-dyes, knit and crocheted items, leatherwork, handmade pet accessories, and upcycled jewelry was available. A variety of handmade all-natural soap and handcrafted body care products were available, with unique home décor, nature-themed artwork, photography, and woodworking items. Gardeners also enjoyed a native plant sale.
Wind-powered music filled the air throughout the day. The entertainment line-up on the Main Stage featured: Sounds of Syla (Alternative R&B) from Noon-2:00, a drum circle with Raw Earth from 2:00-2:30, Red White & Floyd (Pink Floyd Tribute) from 2:30-4:30, Non-Stop Reggae from 4:45-6:45, and Jake’s Leg (Grateful Dead Tribute) from 7:00-10:00.
The Jacoby Arts Center lineup on the Second Stage featured: Grab Bag: an improv-based performance by musicians, poets, and movers from noon–1:00, music by Scott Brady from 1:00-1:30, The Worn Collective's Sustainable Fashion Show from 1:30-2:30, INTERWOVEN Dance Performances from 2:30-3:00, Raw Earth's Urban Tribal Fusion and World Jazz music from 3:00-5:00, and live art and music meditation by Jules Fair & Nick Goebel from 5:00-6:00.
A great selection of local food and beverages were on site from The Old Bakery Beer Company, The Brown Bag Bistro, Gentelin’s on Broadway, Big Boys Q, The Rivers Vedge, Melvey’s Place, Team Honduras, Poputopia, CJ’s Juicery, Maeva's Coffee, The Flavored Pickle Bar, and Bubba Grumpz Smoked Pretzelz.
A MEF River Clean-Up will take place on Saturday, Sept. 25th. Boats will ferry volunteers to clean up riverbanks and islands from 9 a.m.-noon. Pre-registration is required to reserve your seat.
Approximately 45 tons of trash have been removed from the Mississippi River during MEF clean-ups to date, with more than 20,000 volunteer hours contributed so far. Volunteers can register online at www.DowntownAlton.com/Events.