AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Happy Earth Day! Our friends over at the Phinizy Center for Water Sciences, the city of Augusta and AU hosted their annual big event at Phinizy Swamp Nature Park on Saturday in honor of the holiday.

Earth Day is a global event, meant to bring awareness and support to environmental protection.

Its 53rd anniversary is this year, and according to its website, more than a billion people celebrate it each year on April 22nd.

“If anything, they’ll get out of it that the whole purpose of what Earth Day is,” said Kimberly Dillard, the park and Volunteer Director of the Phinizy Center for Water Sciences. “It’s just a movement of, we need to safeguard our resources. We only have one Earth, and we need to share it with everybody.”

There were vendors, food, live entertainment, activities, animals and so much more.

All eco-friendly, of course.

“It’s awesome, I had no idea there was gonna be so much out here,” said Debbie Casalie, an attendee. “I got to pet alligators in there and look at snakes.”

“It’s definitely a good way to bring awareness to Earth Day,” said Delia Neglia, another attendee who was there with her sons. “I was aware of earth day from just growing up and stuff, but I’m trying to teach them about the planet and how important it is to preserve it, and it’s really cool to see all the animals too.”

“There’s tons to do, yeah,” said Marlea Mastricola and Anthony Thomas, also attendees. “It’s been very cool, we got some free merch and got to see some nice lily pads, and maybe some alligators after a while.”

But organizations at the event want to remind you, it’s not all fun and games.

“Any information we can get out to the citizens on how they can help keep this water clean, and our wetlands clear, is going to be very very powerful,” said Truck Carlson, the Veterans for Clean Water Program Coordinator for Savannah Riverkeeper. “So just getting the information out is critical because people don’t realize what you do five miles away from the river, is going to end up in the river.”

The expected turn-out was 5,000 people, and the staff said they’re looking forward to doing it again next year.