ORONO, Maine — Kelly Holmes has lived in Penobscot County all of her life but had never heard of the annual HOPE Festival, held Saturday at the University of Maine Student Recreation & Fitness Center, until her grandchildren brought home fliers about it from a Bangor school.
“I looked it up online and was surprised to see this is its 23rd year,” Holmes, 45, of Greenbush said as her three grandchildren created musical instruments and puppets out of recycled materials.
The eldest, Mykayla Webber, 9, placed bean and rice in a paper towel tube and closed off the ends while her brother, Cody Webber, 8, made a puppet using a paint stirring stick glued to a large plastic lid. He created eyes out of bottle and beads, used a cork for a nose and a curved red pipe cleaner for the mouth.
Bailey Webber, 6, made a maraca out of a large paper tube as her siblings worked, but she did not look like them. Bailey sported whiskers and yellow spots across her face.
“I like cheetahs because of the color of their spots,” she said.
Families who have not attended the folk festival before, such as Holmes’, were one of the main reasons the even’t coordinator Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine moved the date from Earth Day to April 8.
“Traditionally, we’ve held it on or close to Earth Day, which falls on the last Saturday of the April school vacation,” Karen Marysdaughter, coordinator at the center, said during the festival. “We decided to move it to earlier in April and it seems to have worked. We’ve seen a lot more families with children this year.”
Earth Day is April 22. School vacation begins on Easter Sunday and ends on Earth Day.
“The festival is an opportunity to pursue [the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine’s] goal of progressive movement-building in our community by making visible the underlying connections between groups working individually toward social change. It is a chance to generate connections and network among organizations, groups and individuals seeking ways to affect change around causes they care about,” said Amy Hughes, festival co-coordinator, said earlier this month.
This year’s festival drew about 60 groups from throughout the region. Some are well established, such as WERU Community Radio and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. Others are new, including Indivisible: Bangor, which was formed to “rise up against the Trump agenda.”
An Earth Day Festival will be held from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 22, in Pickering Square in downtown Bangor. It will focus on care for the sustainability of the natural environment and care for the well being of the Earth’s people. For information, call 945-5827.