Idyllwild’s 24th-annual Earth Fair this Saturday is themed “Born to be Wild!” The event is from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at its traditional venue — Town Hall.
The theme was chosen because this year is the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Wilderness Act, which President Lyndon Johnson signed Sept. 3, 1964, creating the Mt. San Jacinto Wilderness area. Also, Earth Fair Chair Holly Owens stressed that “wild” is in the town’s name and home of the Earth Fair.
This year’s Greenwood Award recipient is Wilber “Bill” Mayhew, emeritus professor of zoology at University of California, Riverside. During his 35-year career, he touched the lives of students, and his field classes introduced thousands to the natural world.
Mayhew co-founded the UC Natural Reserve System in the 1960s and he worked tirelessly to acquire wild lands for it, including the UC Riverside James San Jacinto Mountains Reserve near Idyllwild.
“Bill is an inspiration for many, and truly a hero of conservation in Riverside County,” said Dr. Michael Hamilton, former director of the James Reserve.
More than 750 areas have been designated as wilderness and preserve, nearly 110 million acres throughout the U.S. The states with the most wilderness areas are California, Arizona, Nevada, Alaska and Oregon. Wilderness areas are parts of national parks, wildlife refuges, national forests and the public domain, and they may include land in several different units managed by different agencies.
The U.S. Congress designated the San Jacinto Wilderness in 1964. It comprises 32,250 acres, which fall within both the Forest Service’s San Jacinto Ranger District and California’s Mt. San Jacinto State Park. Within the San Jacinto Wilderness are 48 miles of trails, including 28 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.
“One of the most unique features about where we live is the fact that we are surrounded by remarkable federal and state wilderness,” Owens wrote in an email. “People come from around the world to enjoy and recreate in these areas, and many of us live here because of them. We are incredibly fortunate.”
Earth Fair 2014 will feature live entertainment, organic Himalayan and Mexican food, and a diversity of interactive booths with recycled art and jewelry, composting and wildlife education. Entertainment during the day will include the a cappella style of Local Color, European/folk/gypsy-inspired music of Eva and the Vagabond Tales, Idyllwild Arts graduate Randy Plummer and his jazz trio, and the blues of The Chuck Alvarez Band.
Antonio Mendoza, a weaver, is one of the new additions to the Earth Fair. At the age of 7, he began weaving in his native Oaxaca under his father and grandmother’s tutelage. He weaves hand-spun wool, hand-dyed with natural dyes such as indigo, moss, pomegranate and pecan. He will be working his loom at the fair.
The traditional Friday-evening dessert reception has been postponed until fall this year, according to Owens.