New Castle News

March 14, 2014

Downtown to join Earth Day celebration

David Burcham
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Earth Day will have one thing going for it in 2014 that it has not had since its inception 44 years ago.

New Castle is ready to join the worldwide celebration.

Thanks to a new vision by New Visions for Lawrence County, the city will observe the event April 26 with a downtown festival that will include eco-friendly exhibits, entertainment, activities and refreshments.

New Visions is a nonprofit, grassroots group of citizens seeking to initiate positive change and pride in New Castle and Lawrence County through active collaboration and partnerships. Larry Corvi, the group’s executive director, said the Earth Day event will feature vendors geared to keeping the local environment clean and green.

Earth Day is actually April 22, but New Castle decided to push its celebration to the following Saturday in order to bring more people downtown.

“It just makes sense to celebrate on Saturday,” said Rhonda DeFelice, who is heading up the project along with Mary Burris. “Cascade Park would be a wonderful place for it, but we want to spotlight downtown.”

DeFelice said New Castle will partner with Ellwood City, which will offer Earth Day-themed events from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ewing Park on April 26 before the scene shifts to downtown New Castle from 2 to 6 p.m.

According to DeFelice, the Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County has moved an annual meeting downtown to synchronize with the occasion, and the YMCA is rescheduling its programming to coincide. There will be events at the New Castle Public Library and the Confluence. Westminster College students also are  scheduled to take part.

The emphasis will be on teaching and showing examples of ways to protect the environment.

“We’re looking for sponsors and eco-friendly vendors for this event,” said DeFelice, who can be contacted via email at

Earth Day sprang from an interest in gathering national support for environmental issues in 1970 when millions of people participated. The most common practice of celebration is to plant new trees.

“We’re excited about this opportunity,” Corvi said. “We just want to all work together and celebrate New Castle.”

Earth Day is one of several big events planned for downtown in 2014. Others include Double Brew with art focus coordinated by the Hoyt Center for the Arts, The Art and Fireworks Festival in July, the summer concert series at Riverwalk Park, the return of the Memories Car Cruise in August and Light Up Night in November.