The warm weekend weather brought both the spring birds and people from all over Orange County out to enjoy the fun and activities at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary’s fourth annual Spring Fair and Art Festival.
Featuring a number of artists, musical groups and arts and craft vendors, and the event this year fell appropriately enough on Earth Day weekend.
Student Derrick Samuelsen, from La Mirada, took a day visit to Tucker as part of his biological studies.
“Visiting a sanctuary or other wildlife-related installation is a really good opportunity to get into nature, rather than going to an aquarium or museum,” Samuelsen said.
The 19-year-old said he appreciates Earth Day and its ability to encourage people to observe, remember, appreciate and care for our natural resources.
Mission Viejo's Sierra Larzelere, 19, said she sees Earth Day as a great opportunity to teach children the importance of protecting the environment. The Tesoro High School graduate also brought a few reptilian friends to meet fairgoers.
As Larzelere introduced a confused and curious Ball Python to Chelsea Klabundy, 17, of Tustin, she talked about one way gopher snakes protect themselves from predators.
“They can actually puff their heads out to resemble a rattlesnake,” Larzelere said. “They will then shake their tails against the brush to simulate the sound of the rattle.”
While swing and vintage jazz band Riff Raff set up, the group's violinist, Steve Marsh, also shared his sentiments about Earth Day, in which he said he first participated in 1974.
“It is a day to think about what we need to do to take care of the Earth to preserve it for future generation,” said Marsh, of Anaheim Hills.
Riff Raff, which has been together for 11 years, was invited to join the fair at Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary for the first time this year.
“Our music is from the 20s, 30s and 40s,” Marsh said. His bandmates were Eric Nichols of Huntington Beach on vocals and guitar, John Mapson, lead guitar from Costa Mesa, Abby Kahn on the upright bass from Fountain Valley, and Tom Allen from Rancho Santa Margarita on percussion.
Artist Anita Stevens, of Costa Mesa, was one of the many artists displaying their wares at the fair. Stevens, a self-proclaimed child of the 70s, creates Navajo Knot jewelry. She said that to her, Earth Day is a time to focus on protecting the environment and preserving it as the wildlife sanctuary does.
Talks and readings were also part of the weekend: interpretative specialist Mark Mendez gave a talk about the local Native American culture and Tammy Janson, a volunteer from Waste Management, read “Wiggle and Waggle” and “If You Gave a Mouse a Cookie” for a childrens' story time. After his lecture, Mendez led a nature walk up the Williams Canyon trail area.
According to event organizers, some of the weekend's proceeds will go to scholarships and microscopes for classrooms at low-income schools.
The choice to hold the fair April 21 and April 22 was a complete coincidence, Mendez said.
“We use the Farmer’s Almanac as our weather bible for planning events,” he said. “It is amazingly reliable.”
In the future, the sanctuary is considering making an effort to again pair the fair with Earth Day weekend, he added.