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Classic Cars Draw a Much Bigger Crowd Than Mother Earth

EARTH DAY. 1970-1990. THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT COMES OF AGE: One in a series

April 23, 1990|LESLIE BERGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

From Hidden Hills to North Hollywood, San Fernando Valley residents observed Earth Day 1990 Sunday by picking up trash, planting trees, and learning to recycle.

But while they were at it, a classic car show in Woodley Park Sunday drew more than three times as many people as a neighboring Earth Day celebration.

"Yeah, I thought it was ironic. Here we are with all these gas-guzzlers," said Carol Ann Cook, historian and photographer for the Coastal Valleys Chapter of the Contemporary Historical Vehicle Assn. "But at least they're just sitting there on Earth Day and not running all over the country polluting things."

An estimated 1,000 visitors attended the auto show, whose immaculately restored exhibits ranged from turn-of-the-century Ford Model Ts to 1969 Thunderbirds. Meanwhile, on Woodley Park's nearby cricket fields, about 300 people took part in an Earth Day Festival sponsored by a coalition of local environmental groups.

Elsewhere in the Valley, about 50 people picked up trash along La Tuna Canyon Road in the Sunland-Tujunga area; lectures and recycling demonstrations drew about 300 people to the Valley Cities Jewish Community Center in North Hollywood, and exclusive Hidden Hills opened its private streets to the public for an educational Earth Day Fair.

As if the car show wasn't enough, the unlucky Earth Day festival in Woodley Park had to move its booths and hand-drawn banners to make way for a cricket game.

Both the festival and the United Cricket Club, whose games are scheduled every weekend between April and September, were given permits to use the same field in an apparent misunderstanding by park officials, according to Earth Day coordinator Glenn Bailey.

But the Earth Day festival simply moved outside the game's circular boundaries to a corner of the large field. "I hope it's a success!" cricket captain Ranjit Vishwanath called out to the ecologists.

After relocating, the Earth Day celebrants were rounded up, gathering at the sound of a cowbell to hold hands and observe a minute of silence.

"Stand and listen to the Earth," Melinda Maxwell-Smith, a mother and massage therapist from North Hollywood, urged the group.

"Feel your feet connected to it. Sensitize your body. See what feels good and what you'd like to change," she said.

At the North Hollywood Jewish center, Holocaust Remembrance Day was observed along with Earth Day and linked by the theme of individual responsibility.

"My mother worked to leave me a better world and now it's my turn," said Ethel Rosenfeld, a grandmother of five from North Hollywood.

In Hidden Hills, organizers said proceeds from a raffle would help fund a recycling center, while booths displayed consumer goods advertised as environmentally sound, from cosmetics to vacations.

Porsches, Volvos, Jaguars, and Mercedes-Benzes lined up on scenic Long Valley Road, outside the fair in the development's community center.

"This is typical," a passing bicyclist harrumphed to his companion.

"Earth Day, and everybody drives half a mile to get where they're going."

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