Mother Nature smiled Saturday for the 15th Annual Charleston County Earth Day Festival.
Under a cloudless sky, temperatures rested in the mid-to-upper 70s as a gentle, cool sea breeze ruffled flags flying at North Charleston Riverfront Park.
Exhibits ranged from environmentally-friendly products to venomous snakes.
A crowd of hundreds strolled the grounds on the banks of the Cooper River as they wandered between displays. Some grabbed a bite to eat from a vendor. Many held free, blue Charleston County Recycling tote bags.
Kim Elkins of North Charleston and her son Wyatt, age 7, wore paper hats crafted from yesterday's newspaper. Elkins said that she is such a fan of the family-oriented festival that she showed up an hour before gates opened at 11 a.m.
"Never miss it. I've been to all of them except for one," she said.
Because of its popularity, the Earth Day Festival moved from its original Park Circle location, she noted.
"It's grown so much," she said.
Recycling was a major theme of the event. A "Compost Awareness Center" offered insights into organic gardening, and a "Re-Trend Swap" provided a venue for shoppers to trade used clothes for other already-worn garments on display.
"Pizza Box Soccer" transformed leftover fast-food cardboard into a table-top athletic field. Contestants aimed to score a winning goal with a ping-pong ball powered by air blown through a straw.
Nature took center stage as a Harris Hawk flew over the crowd in a show put on by the Birds of Prey Center in Awendaw. Other big birds were in the spotlight, too.
"We hope you are all fans of the vulture now," said the center's Meghan Sparkman.
The environmental virtues of snakes when it comes to rodent control were touted in a show featuring the slithery reptiles. The emcee told kids to move back from the stage at least five feet while he held a Copperhead.
The contents of the county landfill were on display at an exhibit that gave a breakdown by percentage of materials buried there. Paper led at 25 percent. Scrap metal brought up the rear at 1 percent.
The thinking of Sir Isaac Newton was described at a "Mad Science" interactive exhibit that involved the challenge of extracting sticks without causing a tower to fall.
Local bluesman Shrimp City Slim sang an original composition about the environment.
"Put your hands in the air if you want to clean up the planet. If you don't recycle you are missing the opportunity of a lifetime," he said.
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