By Molly • Molly Walker • 

Saturday's La Casa Verde celebrates sustainability

In a day designated to celebrate everything green, visitors to McMinnville’s Granary District can participate in a chicken tractor race, fun run or walk, cold-frame construction workshop and community brewing workshop. They can listen to music, visit vendor booths and dine on pizza.

The fourth annual La Casa Verde event is slated to run 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 20, the Saturday before Earth Day.

The event will kick off with the fun run and walk, which follows a 7.5 mile loop. There is no registration fee and pets are welcome.

Prizes will be awarded for first, second, fourth and 20th places, for first dog to finish and for best green costume. All participants will be awarded a log medal and a certificate for a free tasting at any Granary District winetasting room for adults or the Serendipity Ice Cream parlor downtown for children.

In the cold-frame construction workshop, participants will get a chance to build a protective enclosure for home gardening, using scrap wood and recycled windows.

In the community brewing workshop, to be led by Brian Gilbert of Linfield at a cost of $25, teams of three will take a beer recipe from scratch to batch, starting at 12:30 p.m. The product will be stored on site to ferment for two weeks, at which time participants will return to bottle their brew. 

Live music will be performed by The Hilldogs and Jack Ruby Presents. Numerous activities for children are planned to encourage them to stay active and care about the environment.

The Cob Oven, created by a workshop of 15 during the 2011 La Casa Verde, will be fired up to cook pizzas donated by Third Street Pizza. There is no charge, but donations will be accepted on behalf of Habitat for Humanity, which is hoping to net $1,000.

Ninkasi, a craft brewer from Eugene, has donated two kegs of beer for adults to enjoy with their pizza. 

Chicken tractors will be on display all day in preparation for the International Chicken Tractor Races, to get underway at 3:30 p.m. Zack Geary will be defending the Golden Egg trophy he won last year against challengers Erik Grimstad and Gretchen Phelps.

 In preparation, promotional videos on the “Rise of Chicken Tractor Racing” have been created. They feature Kent Taylor of the city of McMinnville, Jeb Bladine of the News-Register, Anna Barsotti of Four Elements Yoga, Remy Drabkin of Remy Wines, Mary Beth Branch of Mes Amies and Pam Ramsey of the McMinnville Police Department. 

Two other events are planned in conjunction.

A tiny house workshop will run 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Participants will learn to build a 100-square-foot “tiny house” on a 12-foot by 8-foot trailer.

The class runs $375, covering the cost of materials. It will be taught by regional “tiny house” experts Derin Williams of Shelterwise and Dee Williams of Portland Alternative Dwellings.

Saturday night, this year’s Green Achievement Awards will be presented at a winemaker’s dinner set for 5 to 7 p.m. at Dominio IV winery. The keynote speaker will be Mark LaLiberte, a renowned building scientist and environmentalist. 

La Casa Verde was started by John Mead and Carson Benner of Cellar Ridge Construction to help educate and inform the community on green building. For more information, including a schedule and promotional videos, visit

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