Santa Rosa’s 14th annual Earth Day draws families for a fun, educational and sunshine-filled afternoon

The city’s free Earth Day event at Old Courthouse Square in downtown Santa Rosa on Saturday drew large crowds of families looking to enjoy the weather and free environmental activities.|

Nico Escalante, 5, grinned a blue-slushy-tinted smile and pointed at a stupendously large toad in the Classroom Safari’s booth at the City of Santa Rosa’s annual Earth Day event.

Then Escalante saw the star of the show, Willow the sloth, an endangered species who has become famous over the 14 years of city-organized Earth Day celebrations. He gasped.

The city’s Earth Day event at Old Courthouse Square in downtown Santa Rosa on Saturday drew large crowds of families and locals looking to enjoy the sunny weekend weather and learn a bit about the environment through engaging booths, activities and entertainment.

Alicia Quilici, research and program coordinator for the city, said there were 58 vendors and six food trucks, as well as performances from local Pomo dancers, Taiko drummers, the Shilo Irish Step Dancers and the Tru Lyric Band.

“I’m just grateful everyone was able to celebrate Earth Day on this really beautiful day, ” Quilici said. “It’s great to get the community together now that we’re kind of out of COVID.”

It was also a chance to get people acquainted with all the different organizations and city programs that help the environment, she said.

Organizations included Recology Sonoma Marin, Zero Waste Sonoma, Latino Service Providers, the Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery, LandPaths, The Climate Center, Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District and Sonoma Water.

At Sonoma Water’s booth, Luciano, 4, peered into a microscope to observe tiny bugs zipping across a Petri dish collected from the Russian River the prior day.

Rosa Zamudio, 40, said she brought her young son so they could get out and enjoy the weather with plenty of free activities.

“He’s been having a lot of fun fishing trash out of the pool, and he likes spinning all of the wheels at the booths and he loved the bus,” she said, referring to one of the city’s new electric buses, which was on display for attendees to walk through.

Although he might be too young to grasp all the environmental concepts, he learned about why it’s important not to litter and he had a blast, she said.

You can reach Staff Writer Alana Minkler at 707-526-8531 or On Twitter @alana_minkler.

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