Whether young or old, this year’s Santa Monica Festival at Clover Park gave everyone the opportunity to learn more about how to live a greener, healthier and more sustainable life in Santa Monica.
The City’s Cultural Affairs Manager, Jessica Cusick, told the Mirror the festival, which is now celebrating its 16th year, has always been a “celebration of our culture and the community” and this year it “celebrated sustainability and the environment” as well.
Everything was green, from the way food was served to the way the entertainment venues were powered. Aaron Paley, co-founder of the Community Arts Resources (CARS), the producer of the festival, stressed that he “asked all food vendors to use compostable materials” that were made out of corn, sugar, potato or paper to be used as disposable cups, food containers and cutlery. In addition, there were zero waste stations staffed by volunteers, where people were instructed on how to dispose of their waste, and excess food went into City compost bins.
All aspects of the festival that required electricity were powered by renewable energy sources, including solar, wind or geo-thermal generated power. CARS co-founder Katie Bergin said the festival also made an attempt to “offset the CO2 footprint from all the festival-goers” by attempting to estimate the number of people coming and how many miles they drove and then planting trees in another location through terrapass.com.
The festival also emphasized the use of alternate modes of transportation. A bike parade kicked off the City’s new Santa Monica Active Living campaign, “Bike Santa Monica.” A new City bike route map was introduced, bike valets were on hand, and booths related to biking gave out information. There was even a raffle for a new bike.
Several workshops were also available with items that used recycled materials, including re:Fashion with Ann Closs-Farly, where participants got to make wearable fashions and then show them off at a fashion show at the festival, as well as decorating bike helmets with David Orozco.
Cusick reported that this year’s fair cost approximately $140,000, which was funded partially by the City. The rest came from corporate sponsors: American Express, Starbucks and Energy Efficient Solar. This year there was a record 100 booths, and booth participants were chosen based upon the “seam of the festival,” creating the right mix and having local crafts as well as out-of-town selections. Booth vendors were also chosen based on their environmental attitudes, such as Old Soul Doll Company, which uses recyclable materials for its products.
Giveaways at the festival were also environmentally oriented, such as the energy kit given out the Community Energy Partnership.