Philadelphia is home to plenty of festivals and events, but perhaps one of the most prevalent when considering our future is the Clean Air Council’s Greenfest presented by Toyota Hybrids. The informative event is the largest annual environmental festival in our region, and would have been held in person for its fifteenth year this year, but for obvious reasons is now going virtual.
“Greenfest is an environmental festival that focuses on teaching everyone what they can do in their daily lives to be more sustainable,” says Katie Edwards, Greenfest planner and Director of Social Media for the Clean Air Council. “The festival was started 15 years ago and it’s been running ever since.”
Greenfest brings in over 100 environmentally friendly organizations and vendors that people can browse, visit with and talk too featuring vegan cooking demos, a clothing swap, live music, vegan and vegetarian food and more.
“It’s all about being sustainable and having fun, because we want people to learn little steps that they can take every day that will really become apart of their lifestyle and will lead to reducing their carbon footprint. Then we’ll have a healthier planet,” adds Edwards.
The Clean Air Council wanted to provide a one-of-a-kind experience to explore sustainability, even with a pandemic promoting social distancing. Going virtual seemed natural, especially since the organization had to pivot for another huge event this year, the Clean Air Council Run
“The run is in April, so, this year COVID hit really close to when the race was happening and we decided to take the race and make it virtual. People could run anywhere they wanted at any time they wanted and just submit their time to us and we would just send them a medal and a t-shirt for participating,” says Edwards. “That had a really great response. We had over 600 participants and people really just really liked it and appreciated that we were trying to keep them safe and still giving them something to do as opposed to just canceling the entire event. So, when it came to looking at Greenfest soon after the run was over, we said you know what? There’s a lot of these educational features that we offer that we can take online and they are going to be just as fun and just as resourceful. We were able to dip our toe into virtual events and see that they are very well received.”
There will be some old favorites returning in terms of what people can expect, but also a few new demonstrations that will be added to the list for people to check out. Edwards mentioned a few stand-outs for the 2020 event including vegan cooking demos with Joseph Solar who owns a vegan restaurant out in Malvern and Fairmount called the Greyhound Cafe.
“He cooks up really delicious, homey, plant-based, Italian and Mexican style dishes that are easy to make and just look absolutely delicious,” explains Edwards.”Another event, a new feature that we’re having, is an online Green Quizzo with Johnny Goodtimes. It’s just going to be around how well do you know your sustainability facts, environmental policy and green trivia. Also, Toyota Hybrid is our presenting sponsor and they’re going to be doing a virtual tour of their newest hybrid vehicle and then taking people on a virtual test drive so people can test-drive the new virtual vehicle from the comfort and safety of their own home.”
Edwards also mentioned an event specifically for kids from the Moms Clean Air Force letting local kids ask lawmakers tough questions about the environment and what they can do to make change. All event information will be available to peruse online.
“Cleanair.org/greenfest is where the lineup and schedule is all going to live and how people can participate in all of these interesting features. We’re going to be doing things from podcasts to Facebook Live to webinars, so there’s going to be a whole bunch of different formats that people are going to be participating in,” says Edwards.
Clean Air’s main goal is to fight for everyone’s right to breathe clean air. Being the largest event of its kind in the region, the impact from this event could be paramount, especially with an election looming on the horizon. When it comes to planning for the future in any degree, the Council is promoting the wise adage that knowledge is power.
“We’re in an election year and there are a lot of terrible environmental rollbacks going on right now. Greenfest is a great place to learn how to be a better advocate for the environment,” explains Edwards. “We’re going to have a session that’s going to be specifically for becoming an advocate for environmental policy. It’s a great way for people to get involved and help us enact change so that we have a healthier environment for future generations.”
Greenfest will take place Saturday, Sept. 12 to Sunday, Sept. 27. To learn more information, visit cleanair.org/greenfest