Michelle and I had an enjoyable celebration of the Fourth of July. We went to the Festival for the Eno, a festival held at a park in northern Durham along the Eno River. The festival has been held for 28 years, features local and national musical artists, vendors and environmental organizations, and great food—with all proceeds going to the Eno River Association. One of the highlights for us included a visit to the West Point Mill, built on the site in the early nineteenth century and rededicated on July 4, 1978 after years of restoration. Today is is still powered by the Eno River, grinds corn and grain into flour and grits, as well as serving as a living history museum of all the equipment once powered by the mill. Other enjoyable pieces were running into our friend and fellow parishioner Ted Earhardt, who gave a demonstration of the chemical process involved in converting waste vegetable oil (or poultry grease) into clean burning biodiesel. The process is being used by Piedmont Biofuels to produce more then 4000 gallons of diesel each day in their plant in Pittsboro. Also from Pittsboro, we met the owner of Kerala Curry, who produces curries and spices in the authentic southern Indian style; they were selling prepared foods to advertise their spice products but also are anticipating their opening a restaurant in Pittsboro! Our food, as well as all the food and drink at the festival, was served on or in compostable containers. The cups, straws, plates, utensils, and more were made from a variety of non-GMO crops (especially corn) that all biodegrade into nice compost. This made the festival trash-free and demonstrated to others who relatively easy this can be done with a little forethought. Finally, the music we listened to ranged from West African fusion dance to local bluegrass, and from steel guitars used in African-American churches in the South to hymns, spirituals, and Briar Rabbit stories woven together.
Afterwards we managed to distract Natasha from her lab work for a while, grabbed some food, and chatted. On our way home we noticed a large number of people sitting out in front of Maple View Farm, which looked conspicuously like folks prepared to watch fireworks. We got home, called to confirm that there were going to be fireworks, grabbed Linus, and headed off to Maple View. We had a great view parked along Dairyland watching the fireworks bursting over the corn fields. We headed home, I shot off the few remaining fireworks I had from last year, and then we watched the Brazilian film O Caminho das Nuvens (The Middle of the World), telling the tale of a family as they travel by bicycle nearly 2000 miles to try and escape poverty. It turned out to be a good Independence Day.