Outside, weather permitting, will be more exhibitors, games for the whole family, locally prepared foods (a preview of the plenty available on the same site each Sunday at the Rosendale Farmers' Market beginning this month) and a Mothers' Day flower and plant sale. "Part of the purpose of this event is to get people to meet local farmers," said Metzger. "It's to show how we're all connected in the larger community." This year's theme is "Many Back Yards, One World," and it's not hard to find the connection. "For example," said Metzger, "what we do in our back yards can affect the quality of our groundwater."
A series of speakers inside the center will include Bob O'Brien, Invasive Species Control field director at Minnewaska State Park Preserve; Laura T. Heady, Biodiversity Outreach coordinator for the New York Department of Environmental Conservation's Hudson River Estuary Program; master gardener Sue Stegen; Paul Rubin, karst hydrologist and president of HydroQuest; and Peggy Atwood, assistant coordinator for Mid-Hudson Energy$mart Communities.
Funds raised by donation will go toward expanding the existing set of solar panels atop the Community Center itself. The first Expo raised funds to begin the project, according to Metzger, and the building itself is already heated and cooled geothermally. Metzger counts 32 panels on the roof now, with each divided into two sections. She said that the current solar array is a ten-kilowatt solar photovoltaic system that generates one-sixth of the electricity needed for the entire complex, which includes the Center, the Youth Center, the pool, the pavilion and even the lights for the baseball field.
Attendees come to the Expo for a variety of reasons, but Metzger said that, in particular, "People were really shocked by the rise in fuel prices. And now they've come down, but I think it really jolted people into thinking about dependence on fossil fuel." She hopes that what's taken away from the Expo is "a better understanding about what alternatives are out there."
The Rosendale Earthfest and Expo will be a rain-or-shine event on May 9 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged to help with the solar panel system. The Rosendale Recreation Center, which includes the Community Center, is located on Route 32 in Rosendale. For more information, contact Metzger at (845) 658-8967 or email@example.com.