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The “Eco Fair” Beats The Foul Weather Predictions

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October 2, 2022

By Barrett Seaman–

A lot of events were planned in the rivertowns for the first weekend in October, so the dismal weather forecast triggered by Hurricane Ian was not welcome news. Irvington High School canceled its homecoming parade. Folks in Dobbs Ferry fretted that there was no rain date for Ferry Festa, the annual street fair that would close Main and Cedar Streets to vehicular traffic. Many wondered whether Tarrytown’s Eco Fair scheduled to accompany the regular Saturday morning TaSH farmers market would have to be canceled.

The worst forecasts did not materialize, however. Gray skies and afternoon drizzle were not enough to stop Ferry Festa, and most of the environmental groups scheduled to set up shop in Patriots Park did so.

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The 16 environmental groups participating in the Eco Fair were able to bolster their audience of eco-devotees with farmers market patrons. Among the attendees were Tarrytown Mayor Karen Brown and State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins.

There were established groups like Sustainable Westchester and Citizens Climate Lobby alongside more narrowly focused groups like the Rewilding School, the Refillery and the Hackley School’s program to protect the Tarrytown Lakes. At the end of the day, the Tarrytown Tree Commission had given away almost 200 White Spruce and Balsam Fir trees.

Organizers deemed the fair a “great success in spite of the poor weather predictions,” said TEAC co-chairman Dean Gallea. Added Rachel Tieger, the other TEAC co-chair, “When they were not busy, exhibitors visited each other’s booths with a sense of collaboration and shared adventure.  Attendees were delighted by the expansive variety of offerings and the wealth of information available.”

A sampling of participating groups:

TEAC, the Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council, organized the fair. A volunteer, citizen-led committee operating under the auspices of village government, TEAC “researches, reports and makes recommendations on land use, ecological integrity, environmental consequences, quality of life and public health and safety.”

Citizens’ Climate Lobby declares itself “laser focused” on carbon pricing legislation pending in Congress.

The Federated Conservationists of Westchester County (FCWC) invited visitors to rank their environmental concerns. (Climate change was leading over ten other choices, with water quality running second.

Sustainable Westchester is nonprofit consortium whose goal is to “create healthy, resilient, sustainable communities.”

The Refillery Shop is a “zero-waste” store that promotes sustainability through “pop-ups” like their table at Tarrytown’s Eco Fair.

The Rewilding School works to strengthen ties between people and the natural world through a variety of educational programs.

Bike Tarrytown has long promoted bike and pedestrian lanes on Broadway and Route 119 to increase safety and decrease fossil fuel pollution.

Hudson Compost Services encourages home food scrap recycling through their fee-based pick-up service.

Hackley Lake Keepers is comprised of students and faculty from the Hackley School, situated on a hilltop not far from the Tarrytown lakes. They have organized clean-ups of the shores and the trails that run along them.

Jazz-loving environmentalists retreated to the Jazz Forum after the fair

The one concession to the weather was Mark Morganelli’s decision to move the planned outdoor jazz concert, dedicated to Hispanic Heritage Month, from Patriots Park to his club, the Jazz Forum, on Dixon Lane. There, followers were rewarded with free Spanish and Argentine wine while listening to Brazilian music played by trumpeter Morganelli, accordion player Eddie Monteiro and Nanny Assis on drums.

“We had been asked a day or two before the event if we would cancel due to the rain forecast,” said TEAC’s Tieger. “But it felt counterintuitive to cancel an “Eco Fair” due to poor weather. We thought that dedicated environmentalists would attend regardless of the weather – and we were right!”

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