ORONO, Maine — The Help Organize Peace Earthwide (HOPE) Festival is about celebrating the earth and humankind’s interconnection. As might be expected, it offers music, fun and family activities, but it also provides a forum where local nonprofit organizations can be visible to the public and provide information and talk with those who want to learn more about the organizations and their missions. Environmental, citizen action, peace, women’s issues, spirituality and alternative groups will take part in the 18th festival 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the Student Recreation and Fitness Center at the University of Maine in Orono.
Pedalin’ H.O.M.E. Bicycle Center in Orland and the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter are just two of the more than 70 organizations that will be on hand at the festival.
Pedalin’ H.O.M.E. Bicycle Center, 988 Acadia Highway, a part of the H.O.M.E. Co-op in Orland, is an afterschool program run by Joe Huggins for children, for those who want to mentor a child and for those who want to learn how to fix a bicycle. Children are encouraged to tinker on bikes with Huggins providing expertise. He also teaches biking safety, hand signals and the rules of the road. Huggins said he has been offering the program for about a year.
“I have built bikes ever since I was a little boy and ride in the Trek Across Maine which raises money for the Lung Association,” Huggins said. He also makes bike parts art with the children in the program and has built a bike that operates a blender, “so you can make smoothies while you ride,” he said. At the HOPE Festival he wants to get the word out to those who may wish to become a program mentor, and to put the H.O.M.E. Co-op and the work it does in a in a positive light, he said. For more information, call Joe Huggins at 469-2453.
A week after the festival, the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter will hold its annual Hike for the Homeless event on Saturday, April 28. Information about the hike, a raffle and the shelter will be available at the festival. This is the first year the shelter has had a presence at the festival, said Suzanne Kelly of Bangor, a shelter volunteer. Visitors to the shelter’s table will find information about the hike and will be able to buy tickets for a raffle that will benefit the shelter. Items in the raffle include Boston Red Sox tickets, a kayak, gift certificates and baskets from local businesses, yoga lessons, theater tickets and much more. Tickets are $5 each, three for $10, and are available at Maine Savings, Broadway, Bangor; Maine Savings, Hampden; House Revivers, 73 Pine St., Bangor; and Reverend Noble-Ipanema, Bangor. Winners will be announced after the hike. For information and to register for the Hike for the Homeless, visit http://hikingforthehomeless.com/.
Environmentalist Bill McKibben, whose book “The End of Nature,” published in 1989, was one of the first to discuss the issues and challenges of climate change, will be the keynote speaker at the festival. McKibben’s most recent book is “Eaarth.”
The festival, sponsored by the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine in Bangor, will offer for sale locally produced food, a children’s program, music from the Innana Sisters in Rhythm and Timbered Lake and juggler Zachary Field.