Free Admission and entertainment, plus furry friends, reptiles, face painting, activities for kids, festival foods, and environmental groups and information for grown-ups. Hours: 11AM-4PM

By New Jersey Herald

Posted: Apr. 25, 2016 12:01 am
VERNON — The annual Earthfest celebration at Heaven Hill Farm, aided by perfect spring weather, was drawing a steady crowd Sunday.Inspired by Earth Day, the yearly tribute to environmental protection that was celebrated Friday, the free admission event lasted from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway was among those in attendance at the farm.”It’s something positive for the township,” Shortway said of the event.”It’s nature. It’s planning. The environment. It’s community,” he said.Among the environmentally-themed displays was a presentation table by Vernon Valley Farm, located several miles away, on the importance of “soil health” via composting as opposed to fertilizers.”We understand how important it is to have healthy soil. Composting is a great way to do it,” said Christina Arellano, who works at Vernon Valley.”Health and wellness comes from what we eat and the choices we make,” she added.An especially attention-grabbing exhibit was provided by Snakes-n-Scales.Bill Boesenberg, an educator at the group, displayed animals ranging from an alligator to a mata mata turtle — the latter noteworthy for its ability to remain remarkably still, he explained to a rapt audience.
AR-304259988 The Vernon Environmental Commission had a table Sunday, as did a new committee touting development of greenway and supported by former mayor Sally Rinker.The New Jersey Sierra Club and the Bear Education and Resource Group, or BEAR, were also present.Sunday’s event was the 16th annual Earthfest at Heaven Hill Farm, with attendees jockeying for overflow parking spaces across Route 94 with those planning a hike on the neighboring Appalachian Trail.Heaven Hill Farm got its start in 1982 as a roadside fruit and vegetable stand. Today, as described on is website, it is a full-service garden center. Asked about Earthfest, Martin Theobold, the farm’s owner, said, “It’s a great thing to give back to the community,” adding, “It disseminates a lot of information.”Rob Jennings also can be contacted on Twitter: @RJenningsNJH or by phone: 973-383-1230.
Photo by Warren Westura/New Jersey Herald – Bill Bosenberg of Snakes n’ Scales holds an alligator with its mouth taped closed at Earthfest at Heaven Hill Farm in Vernon Sunday.