10th anniversary! An overview of Earth Fest 2018

Time for reclaiming traditions for a sustainable future


MT. IRON – Ten years is a milestone of time. A decade. A length of time to reflect on beginnings and growth, yet also acknowledge the strength of future possibilities. This year, Iron Range Earth Fest is 10 years old and the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability will celebrate the milestone of its signature event with a nod to the past and to a shared vision for a sustainable future as we draw out traditions that bring us together.

Earth Fest 2018, a free community event for the whole family, will take place on Saturday, April 21, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in Mt. Iron. Earth Fest 2018 will feature 70 exhibitors and vendors, engaging presentations and demonstrations, and hands-on activities for kids and parents alike.

In addition, Iron Range regional foods cooking demos (RSVP by April 18) and a free viewing of the “Lost Iron Range” hosted by WDSE TV will kick-off Earth Fest 2018 on Friday, April 20, beginning at 6 p.m. at Messiah Lutheran Church. The Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Mt. Iron (across Highway 169 from the Earth Fest sites) is offering a 25 percent discount for Earth Fest attendees for the night of Friday, April 20. (Coupon available at online at www.irpsmn.org/earthfest/.) Come for the kick-off event, stay in comfort and be well rested for all Earth Fest has to offer!

As we carry on our traditions, we recognize the food we eat that nourishes and brings us together. What we prepare it is a reflection of the resources of our local forests and farms. How we prepare it is a reflection of our culture and traditions. The Sioux Chef is the epitome of traditions and local food through culinary ethnobotany. The Sioux Chef’s executive chef, Frank Haney, joins in our celebration as our keynote speaker. The keynote presentation will take place at 1 p.m. in the Northeast Service Cooperative (next to Merritt Elementary School off Emerald Avenue).

Much like food, music brings people together. Traditional skills and homesteading, coupled with the leisure of the lake, reflect the vast landscape of life. No matter far house or field, porches, garages or kitchens, songs were sung, music filled the air. The distinct style of storytellers and music blends carry us through the times creating an amazing present-day regional music scene.

Playing locally, but known globally, we are honored to present musician Gaelynn Lea for a special Earth Fest concert (2 p.m. at Northeast Service Cooperative). Local folk band Silver Wilder will also be entertaining in the Mountain Iron Community Center during the annual “Acoustic Lunch” performance beginning after 11 a.m.

Our unique history and culture—celebrated in local food and music—will be highlighted through a series of presentations and demonstrations at the Northeast Service Cooperative from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Explore your family history with the Iron Range Research Center. Delve into the life of a farmer through holistic planning, seed saving, beekeeping and connections to local farmers markets.

Rediscover local skills from sewing and spinning, to collecting foods and medicines. And get active with a beginner’s yoga class or a walk in the Mt. Iron-Buhl



See the full listing of presentations and demonstrations online at www.irpsmn.org/presentations.

Many of our vendors have grown right along with us and are committed to our mission of sustainability. When we support our local artists, crafters, and bakers, we are supporting our local community. When we support our local farms, we strengthen our local food system. When we weave together the traditions of the past, with our work for a sustainable future, we piece together our unique regional story. Visit the Earth Fest Marketplace in the Messiah Lutheran Fellowship Hall to connect with a wide variety of local vendors.

Earth Fest 2018 will also feature exhibitors, the 2018 Community Sustainability Initiative (CSI) contest, CSI silent auction, and lunch from the Natural Harvest Fest Food Co-op in the Mt Iron Community Center. Family activities like archery, starting your own garden, crafts, vendors and science experiments will be located in Merritt Elementary, as will the 2018 Green Innovators Expo. Mr. Ed’s Farm, blacksmith demonstrations and the Arrowhead Library Bookmobile also engage visitors between Merritt Elementary and Messiah Lutheran Church.

Our goal is to make Earth Fest a lowwaste event. Recycling and composting will be provided in all venues, and bring your re-useable coffee mug and water bottle. Remember to bring your glossy paper to recycle for the annual Mesabi East/ Virginia/Eveleth-Gilbert Nordic Ski Team fundraiser. Unwanted electronics will have a drop-off location for electronic waste and booth again Earth Fest 2018. Visit www.unwanted-electronics.com to learn more about items accepted (charge for TVs and monitors).

Both the electronics recycling and glossy paper fundraiser will be located near the Mt. Iron Community Center off Enterprise Drive.

Finally, Earth Fest would not be possible without the support of generous partners and sponsors! For a complete listing of partners and sponsors, visit www.irpsmn.org/sponsors. And visit www.irpsmn.org/ earthfest for a full listing of Earth Fest 2018 activities. There is much to celebrate, and each of the past years we have strengthened our commitment to our communities, our region, and our world. Join us!

Missy Roach lives in Bear River, MN. She is an Earth Fest 2018 coordinator. Brian Bluhm lives in Duluth, MN. He is the Iron Range Partnership for Sustainability executive director.

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