Mississippi Earthtones Festival Lets the Sunshine In

Gail Harper


Almost 8,000 people marked “interest” or “going” on Facebook in regards to this year’s Mississippi Earthtones Festival. The festival, which just celebrated its 13th year on Sept. 21, is a celebration of earth preservation and conservation and most especially, our own Mississippi River. With attractions ranging from food vendors to apothecaries, there’s definitely something for everyone at MEF.

Fawn Berry, who owns and operates Fawn Berry Apothecary, said “Everyone is open-minded and friendly,” adding, “It’s the kind of event I’d like to attend [even if I wasn’t a vendor].” Fawn is originally from Philadelphia and relocated to Illinois from Denver, Colorado. Healing salve, herbal tea, smokable herbs, and soothing throat spray are just a few of the items one can find in Fawn’s store. “I wanted to connect with people … I would do this again. I think Alton’s really cool.” Fawn is now located in Quincy, Illinois, and can be found on Instagram and Etsy at FawnBerryApothecary

In the vein of celebrating our river, Brian, from the Alton Museum of History and Art, said in part, “[Alton] is a river town and a lot of our history comes from that river.” On display at the museum’s booth were a trilobite, a 340 million year old fossil sample taken from the bluffs, and our state mineral, fluorite. Brian added that the goal of the museum being there is to “ … support, educate, and make aware of conservation and the environment; a focus on natural elements and river art.” The museum has been a vendor at MEF since 2006, MEF’s first year.

This year, rain fell steadily on the morning of the event, but the sun quickly drove it away and light cascaded upon every part of the festival. People welcomed it readily, and the drabness was soon replaced by the event getting into full swing in all its greatness.

Bubbles danced in the air and popped on peoples’ noses, music drifted between the booths, and savory smells enticed the visitors to come check out new foods. Dogs on leashes are welcome here, chalk art lined the streets and everyone was all smiles. Vendors talked congenially, engaged, with visitors, and a belly dancer bounced around to the music with a little girl. It felt like everyone was happy to be here. We put aside our differences and embraced the art, music, and culture of our exceptional river town.

After all, at the Mississippi Earthtones Festival, it’s all good vibes.

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