Greening Up the Mountains will have a stronger focus on sustainability this year.

 Sylva can expect a greener Greening Up the Mountains this spring.

“We’re rolling out a new sustainability policy this year in honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day,” festival organizer Kendra Hamm said.

The festival, which started in 1997 as an Earth Day festival, comes to downtown Sylva from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday, April 25, three days after Earth Day 2020.

“We’re hoping to attract more artists who are using upcycled or repurposed materials this year,” she said. “We’ve issued a call for vendors – artisans and crafters and food vendors.”

Vendor applications are online at

“We do have some new policies, so we want to make sure everybody reads those,” she said.

The vendor application clearly lays out the sustainability policies, asking vendors to “be mindful of the products that you are sharing and reduce the amount of plastic that you are bringing into the festival.”

No plastic bags are permitted, specifically in regard to plastic grocery-style bags. Paper and reusable bags are acceptable. Attendees are asked to bring their own bags or purchase reusable bags.

No Styrofoam containers, including cups and plates, are permitted. Vendors must use reusable or recyclable products (recyclable paper or plastic food containers).

Nonprofit vendors are not permitted to sell or give away bottled water but may sell canned beverages or dispense water into reusable or recyclable cups.

Hamm is recruiting volunteers, not only for day-of but for planning the event as well.

The planning committee meets monthly, with greater frequency as the event draws near.

Volunteer shifts at the event will run three hours, she said.

Anyone interested in volunteering should email Hamm at

Details such as bands and shuttle service from the Justice Center have not been etched in stone yet, Hamm said.

The Greening Up the Mountains Annual 5K starts before the festival with registration at 8 a.m. at Mark Watson Park. Registration is $15 and can be completed online at or by paper application available at the Jackson County Recreation Center in Cullowhee.