Festival brings city out in celebration of Earth Day

Published 5:48 pm Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Artists, authors, gardeners, non-profit groups and large numbers of Suffolk residents turned out Saturday to celebrate Earth Day.

The Earth & Arts Festival returned April 22 to the grounds of Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church after a couple of years off during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A collaboration between Keep Suffolk Beautiful and the Suffolk Art League, the event was packed with vendors and citizens turning out to participate in family friendly activities.. 


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The entire festival centers around a celebration of “growers, makers, artisans and many others,” said Suffolk Art League Executive Director Linda Bunch. “We have about 60 vendors here today and that’s from fine art, crafters. We have some literary, some authors here with their books. We also have a lot of nonprofits, some animal rescue groups (and) some other organizations that are interested in the environment.”

Bunch said the event ties in with Suffolk Art League as a “community based organization.”

“Our mission is to open the gateway to the arts,” she said. “We do a lot of things out of the Suffolk Art Gallery, which is owned by the city under Parks and Recreation, but we also do a lot of work in the community. We bring workshops into all of the schools: elementary, middle and high schools.”

Bunch said the Art League also holds workshops and classes at the gallery, at the North Suffolk Library where they have events such as this and the farmers market.

“We try to bring the arts into the community as much as we can, and make it available,” she said.

The festival also provided the community “an opportunity to come together,” Keep Suffolk Beautiful Commissioner Audrey Dennis said. 

“The event was originally a number of years ago — started 2017 — was held for a couple of years. We’ve been given the blessing by that original group to continue on their tradition,” Dennis said. “It’s an opportunity for the community to come out and see different people in the community who are makers and growers and artisans and crafters and food people and musicians, and to enjoy that experience.”

Bunch said the festival is a great event to bring to the fabulous community of Suffolk.

“They’re wonderful people and people who care about the earth and environment and the arts, and it’s a joyous occasion for our community,” she said.

Dennis also expressed her hopes on what the community would take away from the festival while noting the packed atmosphere.

“There’s so many people. We hope that they want to get more involved in the community and support our local artisans, our local growers, our local restaurants,” she said. “Work towards keeping Suffolk beautiful, which obviously is something that I’m passionate about and our group is passionate about. And just take it all in and enjoy our community coming together.”