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posted: 5/2/2013 9:39 AM

Learn about the world around you at Elgin's Green Expo

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Submitted by Green Expo

Now in its fifth year, the five elements -- earth, wind, fire, water and spirit -- will be celebrated at the Elgin Green Expo May 10-11 at The Centre of Elgin, 100 Symphony Way.

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To demonstrate those five elements, organizers this year are bringing to Elgin the rich traditions of the Native American community, raptors from the region, and the country's largest 5,000-gallon portable aquarium filled with fish species harvested from the Fox River.

The spirit of sustainable living will be celebrated by recognizing area residents who work tirelessly toward a better environment. A total of 20 residents/groups will be awarded the expo's first Green Award. Winners will be recognized beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, May 10, at The Centre. The awards are being handcrafted by local potter Michelle Kohout and presented by Mayor Dave Kaptain. There will be music and fire dancing following the award ceremony.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at The Centre, more than 150 vendors will be on hand to introduce residents to how they can include sustainable technology in their own homes and lives.

"The Green Expo continues to introduce attendees to the sustainable technology available for their homes -- go green and save green -- and the wildlife found around them in the Fox Valley," said Sigi Psimenos, event organizer.

Elgin's Green Teens will be unveiling a special sculpture created for this event. There will be a traditional teepee that was hand-painted by nationally recognized artist Eugene Pine, indigenous drumming, Native American storytelling and dancing.

The aquarium, filled with fish collected the day before on the Fox River, allows residents to see the fish they share their river with. The fish are then released back into the river following the expo.

Falcons and hawks native to Illinois will also be on display.

"If you've been reading about the hawks in the area, you'll be able see them up close and personal. How often do you get a chance to have a peregrine falcon on your arm?" Psimenos said.

Elgin's Habitat/ReStore will be conducting an electronic recycling event in front of The Centre. A Community Carnival is planned across the street, on the old Gail Borden library lot, 260 N. Grove Ave., during the expo.

"Because a carnival is traditionally not 'green,' carbon offsets have been purchased to defray its energy usage," Psimenos said.

More than 150 exhibitors have reserved space for the expo, which began in 2009 with 1,500 visitors to the one-day event. Last year, more than 4,000 people attended, and 5,000 are expected this year. All of the events set for the 2013 Green Expo can be found at www.elgingreenexpo.org.

The Green Expo is sponsored by the Elgin Climate Change Organization, Waste Management, Davey Tree and the city of Elgin Sustainability Commission.

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