BIC Fair a big success

Thu, 08/29/2019 - 5:00pm

The Block Island Conservancy held its second annual Fair on Sunday, Aug. 18, at the Solviken property and organizer and founder Melissa Hempstead described it as a great success.  Featuring a surf competition for kids, a dunk tank and other games, a live auction, and a cookout, the Fair was an afternoon of family fun to celebrate and spread the word about the work of the Block Island Conservancy.

The Fair includes games and music, but Hempstead said its purpose “is always about education” and the environment. “The theme was waste, recycling and composting,” she said and is geared toward kids aged 14 and under. “We’re trying to teach them about what needs to be done to protect the environment,” she said. 

“Throughout the summer, the Block Island Conservancy has been sponsoring a small-scale pilot composting program in partnership with the 1661 Farm & Gardens and McPick. The pilot’s goal is to bring attention to the amount of waste generated on the island that could be diverted from the landfill and also to identify community members’ desires to have a facility that is able to handle composting,” according to Executive Director Clair Stover. “So far, waste sorting exercises have shown that 30 percent of the average household trash load could be diverted from the landfill by practicing proper recycling and by composting. The Block Island Conservancy is looking forward to engaging more partners and members of the community in this initiative in the year to come,” 

The theme for the first fair was the effect disposable plastic has on the environment.

Hempstead said that everyone who attended was “asked to make a pledge to change some behavior that would be friendly to our earth,” which she said resulted in “great commitments.”

The Fair was spearheaded by a committee of volunteers, Chairs Hempstead and Rosemary Tobin, and committee members Mary Cerulli, Seth Draper, Mary MacGill, and Meg Vitacco. The event was supported by individuals and businesses, including 1661 Inn Farm & Gardens, Beachead Restaurant, Captain Nick’s, Whalers Brewing Company, Sullivan House and Block Island Gourmet, and many donors to the live auction. 

The auctioneer was Dave Turner. 

Hempstead said the event was “extremely well attended” and that the Fairs have so far raised about $25,000 that will be donated to the Block Island Conservancy and its various educational programs.

“We look forward to seeing you at the Fair in summer 2020,” said Stover.

Founded in 1972, the Block Island Conservancy is a non-profit organization that protects open space on the island, provides nature education programs, and works to identify strategies aimed at making the Block Island community more sustainable.