SEVEN SPRINGS, Pa. - Denny Watson said this year's Mother Earth News Fair offered something for each member of his family.
The Clarion, Pa., man said his wife came to hear how Jenna Woginrich went from working an office job to homesteading and writing full time. His sons were all about the butterflies and moths program. His daughter arrived on Saturday ready to learn as much as she could about starting her own garden.
But for Watson, it quickly became all about the organic dog biscuits, handwoven brooms, gorilla glue and the non-detergent laundry ball.
"Hey, I love the vendors," he said. "I like to look, sample, sometimes even buy. I like having all this stuff in one place so I can really see what it's all about. I like to shop."
For folks like Watson, the annual fair, which was held Friday through Sunday at Seven Springs Mountain Resort, provided an abundance of products from which to peruse. The fair, in its third year, is sponsored by Mother Earth News magazine and Seven Springs. This year the event featured 250 exhibitors, more than 200 workshops and 15 keynote speakers.
The event also offered several off-stage activities, a Farmers Olympics, a seed swap, children's activities, a green shopping pavilion, vendor and livestock demonstrations and local and organic food options.
Anna Weltz, a Seven Springs spokeswoman, said the fair was expanded from two days the previous two years to three days this year because of its growing popularity and attendee feedback. Last year there were about 10,000 attendees. Weltz on Sunday estimated this year's attendance at 15,000.
"We appreciate the support for the annual Mother Earth News Fair and eagerly await a bigger and better fair next year," Weltz said. "Welcoming so many guests to our resort is an honor."
Each day thousands of people packed under the tents and inside conference rooms to learn more about herbs, energy alternatives, fermentation, organic fertilizers and other topics.
Some folks said they have attended the fair each year since it started and plan to attend again next year. First-timer Sherri Lee of Capon Bridge, W.Va., said her family has been reading Mother Earth News magazine for years and wanted to see first hand what it's all about.
"It's like being here brings a lot of that information to life," she said. "We live a very simple life at our house. I've been canning for 29 years so I like to see more about gardens and canning, cooking, that sort of thing. I enjoy reading about it and seeing how much of that information I can put into practice myself."