Can't wait until Earth Day? Neither can the Anne Springs Close Greenway. Which, given what they do and the new events they have planned, is only natural.
"We have several new features, in addition to our traditional Earth Day activities," Greenway marketing manager Elizabeth Bowers said of the April 21 festivities. "This is a great event for folks to come get a taste of what the Greenway offers year-round."
Plus, free stuff.
"We are also doing some fun giveaways to the first 1,000 visitors that day," Bowers said.
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The official Earth Day is Sunday, but the Greenway is offering free entry on Saturday with horse rides, fishing, games for kids, a petting zoo. There's even a horseback parade at noon led by founder and namesake Anne Springs Close. Activities run 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Along with the horse parade, new features this year include a "Meet the Farmer" market where guests can mingle with local farmers and buy produce, "Meet the Animal" demonstrations with Greenway horses, donkeys and other animals and an Earth Day community stage featuring a recycled fashion showcase, art and poetry.
Those additions join popular yearly events like horseback rides, kayaking, fishing, border collie demonstrations and a kids zone.
"Earth Day is just one of many days throughout the year that people enjoy being out on the Greenway," said Denise Cubbege, its director of development. "It is the perfect time to showcase our features and offer festivities as a way to recognize the critical importance of preserving our planet, as well as this local natural resource."
The Greenway is a 2,100-acre nature preserve. It opened in 1995 and has 40 miles of trails, waterways and swinging bridges, historic buildings and more.
And, it's growing.
On Friday, the Greenway will break ground on a new 6,300-square-foot welcome center. It'll be at the Lake Haigler entrance off U.S. 21. The roughly $4 million project will be a "front door" to the full Greenway.
"Our new welcome center will provide a much-needed 'front door' and focal point for the Greenway, a place where members and visitors can meet to learn all about the Greenway and how they can get the most enjoyment out of their time spent in nature on our beautiful 2,100 acres of preserved land," said Jan Martin, chair of the Greenway's board of managers.
The Earth Day celebration on Saturday will have more than two dozen exhibitors and food trucks. For more, visit ascgreenway.org.