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Good Earth

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There will be "Green People," so what's not to love about that? And those "Green People," dressed head to toe in flora and fauna haute couture designed by a Memphis College of Art student, will be mingling during the cocktail hour of Friday's Greenshoe Gala, the first event of Shelby Farms Park's three-day Earth Day celebration, "Down to Earth," running April 17th through April 19th.

Friday's Greenshoe Gala is billed as "green tie." It will be held in tents erected in the parking lot of the park's visitor's center that have been transformed into an amazing eco-friendly ballroom. There will be that colorful cocktail hour, a sit-down organic dinner provided by Whole Foods, a short presentation, dancing, and a live auction featuring the much-coveted shoe designed each year by a local artist. Kat Gore takes over 2009's cobbling duties, creating a patchwork paper platform sandal (pictured at right) inspired by Ferragamo.

On Saturday, the invitation-only Teen Gala honors those involved in the park's youth-volunteer initiative, and on Sunday, it's the big event, with more than 90 vendors, an expanded kids' zone, a bike rodeo, boat-ball demonstrations, food, hikes, loads of live music, and new this year, an eco-art marketplace.

According to Shelby Farms' Jen Andrews, there's an exploding green trend that the park is happily willing to exploit. On board is International Paper showing off its recyclable wares and AutoZone with a demo of oil recycling.

"It's not preaching. It's not political," Andrews says of the event. It's all about good, green fun.

"Down to Earth," Shelby Farms Park, Friday-Saturday, April 17th-19th. Greenshoe Gala, Friday, April 17th, 6:30 p.m., $250. Sunday's "Down to Earth" events are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the park and are free.

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