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Area fair to feature alternative ideas for life

by Darlene J. Taylor

LIFESTYLES WRITER

Electric cars and alternative housing using hay bale construction are just two of the things that can be seen at the first annual Sustainable Fair 2000.

The event will be at Watters Smith Memorial State Park, Lost Creek, on June 17. More than 100 people are expected to attend, with activities planned from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Talks will range from sustainable agriculture and housing, organic growing and dowsing for water to recreational trails.

"We hope that collaboration between private enterprises, small businesses, non-profit and government agencies will help to develop projects for sustainable communities," said fair committee member John Williams of Natural Lifeways Corp., Weston.

Vendors will demonstrate and sell products promoting this theory.

"Art Digman of Mountain State Dowsers will demonstrate the attempt to find water by the use of a pendulum," said Myra Bonhage-Hale, steward of La Paix Herb Farm, Alum Bridge. "Dowsers also use L rods, Y rods and bobbers."

Children's activities will be led by Deanna English, assisted by Judith Vojick of West Virginia Wesleyan College. Fairmont State College Environmental Club students also will participate by making masks and drums.

An auction of donated items and services by agencies, associations and businesses will be conducted at 7 p.m. by the West Virginia Sustainable Development Fund. These will include plants, vegetables, fruits, herbal skin and hair care products, memberships in environmental organizations, music and nature sound CDs and recycled rubber tire products.

Music by Crazy Jane of Charleston and John Lozier of Harping for Harmony will follow the auction.

The herb garden will be installed from 10 a.m. until noon by Melissa Dennison of the West Virginia Herb Association and Sue Cosgrove of Mountain State Organic Grower and Buyers Association.

They will speak on this topic from 6-7 p.m.

Tom McConnell of the Sustainable Agriculture Department at West Virginia University Extension Service secured a grant from the USDA for the fair. The state Division of Tourism provided some funds to assist in marketing the fair as a tourism event.

Registration is $20 for adults. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

Pre-registration forms are available at www.lapaixherbaljourney.com (link to Sustainable Fair 2000). People can also register at the gate.

Brochures or further information are available by calling Bonhage-Hale at (304) 269-7681, or by e-mail at lapaix@iolinc.net. Or, call Denise Poole at (304) 346-5905, or e-mail dpoole@wvwise.org.

Staff writer Darlene Taylor can be reached at 626-1439.

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