TOWNSEND -- What better way to celebrate spring than to spend a day outside with friends? Some lucky ones spent a sunny day on the common recycling their old stuff and supporting eco-friendly businesses.
The common was hopping during Townsend's Earth Day celebration on April 27. Recycling crews, animal visitors, cultural groups -- you name it and there was a place for it.
A pickup truck overflowed with plastic bags, stuffed to bursting. Third grade was way far ahead, Beverly Napior said. The bags were packed with textiles to be recycled, some of it collected at schools in a friendly Earth Day competition.
One of the founders of the Earth Day celebration on the common, Napior said the event has grown since it was funded by sales of recycling bins donated by Sterilite in the 1990s. Then, it was mainly schools taking part.
The fair was run this year by a committee of three; Karen Clement, Irene Congdon and Susan Shaine. The 2013 profits will be given to the Recreation Commission, Clement said.
Some of the revenue generated by renting booths to commercial vendors was used to provide prizes, portable toilets and to pay for the Bat Lady to attend the fair.
In addition to the Bat Lady's offering, there were plenty of animals to engage the attention. Bugworks, paid for by the Amanda Dwight Entertainment Fund and the Townsend Cultural Council had plenty of hands-on creepy-crawlies.
Alpacas from Silver Oak Farm Farm hobnobbed with visitors. Avid herpetologist and Conservation Commission member Jennifer Pettit brought along some of her creatures for people to meet.
The order of the day was earth friendliness. Nonprofit groups given space at the event ran fundraisers. Cub Scouts sold bat boxes and the Boy Scouts collected cans. The can collection is one of the troop's major fundraisers, said leader Steve Meehan.
Relay for Life teams did some last minute fundraising, too. The overnight walk, raising money for the American Cancer Society, will be held at North Middlesex Regional High School the weekend of May 10.
Destination Imagination teams sold vanilla ice cream with caramel swirl, rainbow sprinkles and chocolate covered pretzels. The flavor was created for the day by Dr. Davis Ice Cream in Pepperell. "How cool is that," said organizer Clement.
Another Townsend woman showed her imagination during the fair. Nancy French, a woodworker, has branched out to a new business, the Tiny Treehouse Construction Company.
The tree bark houses have windows and hand-carved doorknobs on a door that opens. Made from salvaged lumber and recovered wood, the diminutive houses are ecologically sound.
The event was a great day for crowd-watching. Townsend residents Alice Struthers and Jane Jackson, each wearing a colorful spring hat, were quick to point out their newest friend.
The excitement and the good weather were too much for 11-week-old boxer pup Duke, who was conked out, upside down, in his bed in the shade.
Despite weariness, the organizers were happy. "It's really nice and the weather is perfect," Clement said.