United by their love for Laguna Beach’s natural beauty and an intense desire to protect and sustain it for the future, five local organizations are coming together for a free Earth Day gala weekend on April 21 and 22.
On the cobblestones at the south end of Main Beach, the second annual Kelpfest will kick off its festivities on Saturday, April 21, with an 8 a.m. beach cleanup. At 9 a.m. a walk-through giant kelp forest will come to life, celebrating its return to Laguna’s coastline and the city’s new designation as a Marine Life Protected Area.
Festivities until 5 p.m. will include free stand-up paddle-board rides provided by La Vida Laguna as well as swimming trips to view the burgeoning rainforests under the sea. Guided tide-pool tours will also be provided. Other activities include on-the-spot, interactive paintings and community kelp mural, a raffle, real mermaids, live music performances and a variety of arts and crafts for all ages.
For more than 20 years, Laguna’s kelp forests declined by as much as 80 percent, according to marine biologist Nancy Caruso, Kelpfest organizer. Over the past nine years, kelp has been reforested with the help of 5,000 volunteers and is now thriving, attracting fish and fowl once bordering on extinction to coastal wildlife habitats.
For the first time in city history, lower Park Avenue at the nexus of Forest Avenue and Coast Highway will turn into a free Earth Day celebration as an Eco Village and pedestrian pathway from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The path will lead eco-adventurers young and older as well as the environmentally curious into three “eco pods” where they can sample solar-oven baked cookies and chicken, take a bicycle tour of nearby neighborhoods that are planting edible gardens where lawns once stood and then relax and listen to eco-aware musicians and speakers and watch environmentally significant films.
At 9 a.m. across Coast Highway on Main Beach, BlueWater-GreenEarth.org will bring home the spirit of the day with a family-friendly beach clean-up followed by a group hug of Mother Earth next to the old lifeguard tower. Last year, 50 people laid down to honor the planet (be prepared to brush the sand off your face). The reward for clean-up participants who sign up to clean a beach or a neighborhood? Besides satisfaction, they will receive a 50 percent discount on tickets for the BlueWater-GreenEarth music festival from 3 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Sunday, April 22, at Laguna Village, 577 S. Coast Highway near Legion Street.
Back on lower Park Avenue, in the first Eco-Village pod, demonstrations will be presented on sustainable home and garden tips and practices such as solar heating, rain barrel and water catchment, composting food scrapes into nutrient-rich water-retaining humus, and hands-on garden projects for kids and adults alike.
The second pod, the Eco-Lounge, will provide seating, live music and present speakers on how to make turning “green” easy as well as environmental films. Speakers will demonstrate and talk about the sustainability of eco-compatible and high-quality water, air, energy, recycling, waste disposal and green building practices.
The third pod, the Eco-Expo, will feature informational booths on sustainable goods and services that enhance a healthy and sustainable lifestyle where individual questions will be answered on various environmental topics and issues.
Sunday’s seventh annual Earth Day Blue Water Music Festival at Laguna Village will feature Southern California talent, including the Pawnshop Kings, Nick “I” of Common Sense, the Salty Suites featuring new sensation Chelsea Williams as well as Kevin Miso, Justin James and World Anthem until 10 p.m. Tickets for people without the beach clean-up discount are $20 presale or $30 at the gate. Tickets are available at the Mail Stop, 1278 Glenneyre at Cress Street (949-497-2271) or by contacting Rick Conkey at 949-573-8624 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earth Day 2012 is sponsored by SEEDS Arts and Education for children; Kelpfest; Transition Laguna, a local organization focused on renewable and sustainable food, water and energy; Charles Michael Murray of Endangered Planet Foundation, and BlueWater-GreenPlanet.org.