24th annual Earth Fair draws more than 60,000 people to Balboa Park

Future of 2014, 2015 fairs in limbo

SAN DIEGO - A few months ago, its future was in doubt but on Sunday, more than 60,000 people packed into Balboa Park for the 24th annual Earth Fair.

Earth Fair organizers are trying to make sure the fairs planned for 2014 and 2015 will happen.

A quick glance around the Earth Fair on Sunday shows there is money to be made in going green. Everyone seemed to be selling something from a booth for self-healing to "green kid crafts."

10News spotted an interesting looking contraption, a quadracycle called the Rhodes Car. 

"They're all made in Hendersonville, Tennessee, home of Johnny Cash," said Rhodes car franchise owner Paul Harris.   

Harris is the first in California to be selling the unique-looking wheels. 

"When I first saw one, I thought of the old Flintstones mobile, but it is pedal power with an optional electric motor," Harris said.

If electric with a bit more speed is your thing, there were plenty of electric cars at Earth Fair, including one BMW coupe that has raced against gas-powered race cars and won. 

"They're incredibly fast," said Mike Bream, who is with San Diego based EV West. "We beat a couple of classes of cars at a high-speed race last year." The company builds drivetrains for electric cars that are then sold by other vendors.

Also drawing a lot of attention was the all-new Fiat 500-E. It is the Italian automaker's first venture into the electric car market in the United States and the two models on display Sunday at the Earth Fair were the first ever displayed in public in the United States. 

In this case, going green could put your wallet in the red. 

"The base price of the car is $32,500, less any rebates," said Sean Russell of Kearny Mesa Fiat.

This year's Earth Fair got the green light after a court rejected the Plaza de Panama project, but the next two years are still up in the air. 

That is because preparations for the centennial celebration of Balboa Park in 2015 could interfere with the fair. Earth Fair founder and CEO Carolyn Chase said she has asked centennial celebration organizers for information so her group can plan but she said no one has gotten back to them. 

Chase said she is now working with San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to try to guarantee there will be an Earth Fair in 2014 and 2015.

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