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HOPE Festival to feature simple solutions to big problems

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ORONO The 21st HOPE (Help Organize Peace Earthwide) Festival will be held on Saturday, April 25, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Maine's Student Recreation and Fitness Center. The free festival celebrates the earth and our connections to each other and is held each year around Earth Day. This year's HOPE Festival theme is Simple Solutions to Big Problems. More than 60 organizations will showcase their work for a better world. They will share information, offer demonstrations, sell buttons, T-shirts and other products, and encourage people to get involved.

'There is so much for everyone to do for the whole day,' said Ilze Peterson of the Peace and Justice Center, who helps organize the festival. 'It's a great chance for people to celebrate spring, its coming, and make connections to the earth and each other and reaffirm that together, we can make a difference. We don't have to put up with things the way they are.'

The HOPE Festival will open at 11 a.m. with a welcome and call to action from Maria Girouard, a member of the Penobscot Nation. Historian, environmental activist and peace advocate, Girouard is the founder of Dawnland Environmental Defense, an alliance for Native and non-Native people who stand united in protection of the "dawnland." She works for Maine-Wabanaki REACH (Reconciliation, Engagement, Advocacy, Change and Healing) as a health and wellness coordinator and community organizer. REACH is the organization that conceptualized and implemented the precedent-setting Maine-Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Maria has been chosen as a recipient of the Mary Ann Hartman Award this year.

Families with children, students and community members come for a day of celebration, inspiration and to learn about what they can do to create a better world. At 11:30 The HOPE Festival Singers will rouse and inspire attendees. At 12:15 Jim Merkel, author of 'Radical Simplicity,' will talk about simple solutions and introduce a range of sustainability demonstrations, including papermaking with recycled materials by ecomaine, a tour of biodiesel-powered Bettie the Bus, ideas for increasing your carbon handprint in order to reduce your carbon footprint and more. At 1 p.m. Robert Spytikowski will share his experiences helping develop water resources in Indonesia after the tsunami, in war-torn Sudan and Ecuador and Peru with Engineers without Borders.

'It's about making a connection with our community here and around the world,' said Peterson. 'People from Bangor can make a difference [globally.]'

The amazing juggling of Zachary Field will delight viewers at 1 p.m., chair yoga with Holly Twining will reinvigorate attendees at 2 p.m. , and throughout the day children will be able to flock to fun and educational activities provided by Fields Pond Audubon Center, Windover Arts Center, Maine Discovery museum and more. All that plus delicious food from local vendors.

The day will conclude at 2:45 with a dance of unity led by Suzanne Kelly. There's something for everyone at the HOPE Festival. For more information or to volunteer call 942-9343 or visit

Last modified on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 22:29


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