April 2, 2012   

Celebrate Earth Day by attending one of the largest Earth Day celebrations in the U.S., right here in Dallas. The second annual Earth Day Dallas is a free two-day festival to be held April 21-22 at Fair Park. The event will feature an Eco Expo, showcasing as many as 600 green exhibitors, along with speakers, workshops, children’s activities, entertainment, a film fest, yoga, dance performances, BMX shows and a 5K run.

The event, created to elevate environmental awareness, was started by Trammell S. Crow, a Dallas philanthropist known for his environmental activism. Crow is the president of the Republicans for Environmental Protection and one of the founders of Texas Business for Clean Air.

Last year, the Dallas festival, attended by 48,000 people, was dubbed the second largest Earth Day celebration in the country by Earth Day Network, an organization that tracks green events. This year, the event has moved from the downtown Dallas Arts District to a larger venue at Fair Park, where organizers are expecting 75,000 to attend.

“Everything’s going to be bigger and better and more spread out,” said Rachel Tice, Earth Day Dallas spokesperson.

New this year is the DFW Truck Farm 5K Fun Run, which will be held on Sunday, April 22, with an 8:30 a.m. start time. Proceeds benefit the DFW Truck Farm, which promotes growing local foods and gardening in small spaces.

Also new this year, the Nature Conservancy is hosting Picnic for the Planet, an attempt to break a world record for the largest simultaneous picnic with events going on all around the world. On Sunday, April 22, picnics will be held twice an hour from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To participate, picnickers just need to bring in a two-item snack.

For film buffs, the Artfully Green Film Series will feature 10 films, including “Truck Farm,” a whimsical documentary about the urban agriculture movement, and “Cafeteria Man,” about Chef Tony Geraci, who has been working to improve school food programs. Discussions follow some of the screenings.

In addition, the Green Talk Speaker Series features 12 speakers, including former First Lady Laura Bush, and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson, discussing topics such as global warming, conservation and sustainability.

A variety of entertainment is planned. Musical acts includes headliner singer songwriter Amos Lee, along with Ponderosa and the Honey Brothers. Those who want to limber up can participate in Earth Yoga all day on Saturday and Sunday. For fashion fans, the EPA Fashion Show will be held on Saturday, April 21, at 1: 30 p.m.

Meanwhile, University Row will showcase more than 20 universities and colleges. Local ISDs will also have booths displaying environmental projects, and the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance will be hosting middle school debate finals on Saturday at 11 a.m.

The Family Zone will include children’s environmental activities and Radio Disney.

A food court will offer festival fare, including with healthy options. Beer and wine will be available for those over 21.

Event-goers can also drop off recyclables. The city of Dallas will be hosting a Recycling Round-up at Gate 9. (You can find a list of recyclables to bring in our weekly green roundup).

For a complete event schedule visit the website of Earth Day Dallas.

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