Your trash is not useless or even close to useless — at least, not in Camp Verde during its Earth Day Arts Fest.
On Saturday, April 22, from 1 to 5 p.m. at Rezzonico Park, the Town of Camp Verde hosts the inaugural event, inviting community members to interact with the natural world through a variety of activities — the most imaginative of which is an “upcycled” artwork contest.
Entrants to the contest submit artwork created with otherwise discarded materials. Both adults and students may submit by sending a photo of completed artwork by email, along with the attached artwork release form by Wednesday, April 19. Artwork must be brought to the judges’ table by 1 p.m. during the festival for display. Prizes include gifts and certificates from local businesses.
Other events include Arbor Day tree planting by Camp Verde’s Tree Advisory Committee, live music by Camp Verde musician Ray Reeves, an “eco-magic” show by Bret Fox, a “trash-to-treasure” fashion show by Verde Valley Farmer’s Market Director Leslie Fox, a comic drawing workshop by Jan Marc “The Janimal” Quisumbing, a tiny house demo and a chance to meet Smokey Bear from the U.S. Forest Service.
According to Camp Verde Economic Development Specialist Sebra Choe, the event is intended to offer STEAM programming to local kids on a weekend day, simultaneously taking some of the pressure off Camp Verde Unified School District.
“We wanted a shift away from the schools having to do it,” Choe said. “We thought, ‘This year we’ll change it’ .... Still, I’m really hoping teachers will give school credit.”
According to Choe, the event also coincides well with the town’s recent push to achieve a Dark Sky Community designation from the International Dark-Sky Association. On Friday, April 21, Moscato Italian Restaurant and the town host a dark sky fundraiser.
“They’ll have a blind taste testing to go with the dark sky,” Choe said.
The event, which begins at 5 p.m. and comes with a $50 price tag, includes a patio dinner followed by star viewing at Rezzonico Park. Reservations can be made by contacting Moscato at 567-7417.
According to Choe, after a decade of trying to establish itself as a Dark Sky Community, the town is “as close as we’ve ever gotten,” requiring only ordnance approval by the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Town Council. Choe said that community support is strong and that over 50 letters of support from throughout the Verde Valley have been collected.
“The reason we’re doing it is we’re in the top 20 percent in the world for a visible Milky Way,” Choe said. “It’s a precious natural resource .... We want to protect that by applying for this international designation.”
If approved, Camp Verde would follow the city of Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek. The city of Cottonwood is also considering application for the designation.
What the designation would mean for residents and business owners, Choe added, is a reduction is light pollution: Property lights would need to be replaced or altered, as well as covered so that light is not projected upward.
Fortunately for everyone, Choe said, the designation would come with a 10-year sunset clause, meaning that no alterations would be immediately necessary.
“It’s been a long process,” Choe said. “If the designation happens by December, I’ll be happy.”
For more information on the Earth Day Arts Fest, including an upcycled artwork contest application form, or Camp Verde’s push to achieve a Dark Sky Community designation, contact Choe at 554-0008 or firstname.lastname@example.org.