Saturday marks the anniversary of Earth Day and in the spirit of more sustainable living, the Community Environmental Council is hosting the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival this weekend at Santa Barbara’s Alameda Park.
The free events and activities during the two-day festival encourage attendees to get educated, take action on climate change and make their voices heard.
This year’s celebration highlights activism as CEC members encourage citizens to move to 100 percent renewable energy.
“Festivals are fun, but this one is fun with a message,” Festival Director Kathi King said. “We hope that people have a good time, but also take away one thing they might do differently as a result that leads to a cleaner and healthier lifestyle.”
More the 200 exhibitors will be on hand and about 30,000 people are expected to attend, King said.
“Earth Day is our biggest outreach effort for the year,” she said. “We are trying to provide a platform for many other organizations in the area to share what they are doing in the community.”
Festival-goers are encouraged to arrive car-free, bring reusable pint cups for the beer garden and reusable bottles to fill up at the water stations.
Event organizers are partnering with Explore Ecology to present the Environmental Stewardship Awards, the community-nominated awards for a Santa Barbara County teacher, student and classroom that have spearheaded supportive environmental change at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
Environmentalist, entrepreneur, author and activist Paul Hawken will accept the Environmental Hero Award at 2 p.m. Saturday and educate audience members about his new book Project Drawdown, describing an ambitious effort to combat climate change.
Past Environmental Hero Award recipients include Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, director James Cameron, science educator Bill Nye and former Congresswoman Lois Capps.
Participants are urged to bring their handmade rally signs from marches and hang it on the activist art installation display.
Attendees can also make protest signs and banners for next week’s People’s Climate Rally and March in Santa Barbara and write letters to elected officials about moving away from fossil-fuel sources.
“We are honoring activism and all that has taken place this year,” King said. “We are helping people prepare by having booths that are offering sign-making workshops.”
Community members have the opportunity to write postcards to Santa Barbara and Goleta cities asking for 100 percent renewable energy, a push in partnership with the Sierra Club.
“One of our campaign goals is pushing the cities to go 100 percent renewable in electricity both in operations and ultimately in the entire cities,” King said.
State, county and city legislative leaders will host one-hour public office hours, share local solutions to climate change and the importance of moving to 100 percent renewable energy.
Starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Second District County Supervisor Janet Wolf will be available at the Elected Officials Booth, followed by Santa Barbara City Councilman Gregg Hart and Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte and the staff of Third District County Supervisor Joan Hartmann.
Congressman Salud Carbajal will be available at noon on Sunday, followed by State Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson, Santa Barbara City Councilwoman Cathy Murillo and Goleta City Councilman Kyle Richards.
A schedule of elected officials can be viewed by clicking here.
Additional event highlights include live music and entertainment, youth dance and athletic performances and a free showcase of battery electric, hydrogen, hybrid and other alt-fuel automobiles.
“This year’s music is going to be phenomenal,” King said.
For those looking for a bite to eat, a food court will feature vegan options, Indian, Mexican, Argentinean and American cooking, desserts, beverages, local beer and wine.
“Every year our food court gets more sustainable, which is wonderful to see our local food providers come to a level that we are hoping,” King said.
About 300 volunteers come together annually to help make the festival run smoothly.
The festivities begin at 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday at Santa Barbara’s Alameda Park, 1400 Santa Barbara St.
A complete list of activities, schedules and stage locations can be viewed by clicking here.