ORONO, Maine — Folksinger David Mallett, keynote speaker Jim Merkel and juggler Zach Field. Each a draw on his own, the varied trio will be part of the 17th HOPE Festival 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at the University of Maine’s Student Recreation and Fitness Center. The annual free event will feature entertainment, information and interaction to celebrate Earth Day, which was held last week.
The Help Organize Peace Earthwide Festival will open with a blessing by Arnold Neptune, Penobscot elder. The HOPE Festival Singers, directed by Marty Kelley, director of Voices for Peace, will welcome participants with song.
Zach Field will give his juggling program at noon, and Jim Rose of Rose’s Bicycle will offer a bike clinic noon-2 p.m. David Mallett performs at 1 p.m., and Jim Merkel, author of “Radical Simplicity,” will speak upstairs at 2 p.m. The day will conclude for fitness fans with a Hula for HOPE contest from 3 p.m. “until the last hoop drops.”
Throughout the day families with children can enjoy activities provided by the Maine Discovery Museum, Fields Pond Audubon Center, Windover Arts Center and more. Children may get their faces painted, visit the “Building Peace with Leggos” sculpture created by the youth group of the Unitarian Universalist Society of Bangor and contribute to a “Wall of HOPE” with pictures or words. They might learn how to catch spring bugs and butterflies with homemade materials and take home a seedling provided by the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.
There will be opportunities to visit exhibits and pick up information from more than 60 organizations working for a better world. Buttons, bumper stickers, crafts and clothing as well as food — “delicious, mostly organic, mostly locally produced” — will be available to purchase. Suzanne Philip of Heart-n-Soul Massage will offer chair massage. A wooden “Peace Table” coffee table donated by woodworker Pete Sirois from Madison will be raffled, and there will be door prizes.
The HOPE Festival is coordinated by the Peace & Justice Center of Eastern Maine and co-sponsored by the Peace & Reconciliation Studies Program at the University of Maine, the Women In Curriculum and Women’s Studies Department, University of Maine and the University of Maine’s student groups: Maine Peace Action Committee and Sustainable Agriculture Enthusiasts and Green Team. The festival is free because so many volunteer time and talent to make the day possible.