Preparations underway for the 14th Annual Sustainable Ballard Festival
By Lindsay Peyton
It’s not your typical festival.
For starters, admission is free to the 14th Annual Sustainable Ballard Festival, slated for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Ballard Commons Park, 5701 22nd Ave NW.
Inside there are no vendors hawking their wares.
Instead, booths feature educational opportunities and interactive demonstrations showing how neighbors can work together to build a strong and healthy community.
“Nothing’s for sale,” festival coordinator Jenny Heins said. “It’s all about making connections and getting to know local businesses. We put an emphasis on education, and we encourage all of our contributors to do something interactive at their booths.”
This year’s theme is “Certified Local” – and there will be a wide range of ideas for how to choose sustainable products and commit to businesses in the neighborhood.
“Doing things locally is a really good way to combat climate change,” Heins said. “Transportation is one of the largest offenders. And the positive aspect of going local is sharing resources and skills with your neighbor. We’re trying to show off businesses that you can support locally.”
This year the festival is partnering with Spin, Seattle’s new bike sharing program, to offer a free ride to the event.
“We’re going to give people a discount code so they can get five free rides,” Heins said. “After they get to the festival, they can get another code for five more free rides.”
Instead of having a main stage this year, Sustainable Ballard will have three smaller stages, each with a unique twist.
One will be a lounge complete with futons, while another will be housed inside a tea garden.
“It’s a family-friendly alternative to a beer garden,” Heins said.
Plus, it doubles as a fundraiser for Sustainable Ballard. Local businesses in Ballard are donating desserts for the cause.
The third stage, located inside a hybrid Metro bus, will also have a Wifi café inside.
Another new addition to the festival this year is the human-sized hamster wheel that can be taken for a spin around the site.
Attendees will also be able to try pressing apple cider, pet farm animals, peek under the hood of an electric car, test ride an electric bike, make a bubble wand, compare solar cookers, enjoy a carnival cut-out photo op and enjoy live music, as well as demonstrations and workshops.
They will also be able to build a birdhouse with the festival’s sponsor Built Green, a non-profit residential building program that sets standards of excellence for sustainable building.
Leah Missik, Built Green program manager, said the birdhouses will be made out of old yarn signs from the annual NW Green Homes Tour.
“It’s a good way to entertain kids – and recycle something,” she said. “It’s just a fun activity, and kids love it.” Missik said this is the third year that Built Green has sponsored the festival. “It’s a great way for us to meet people and get them to know about the work we do in the region to support sustainable communities,” she said. “The festival facilitates neighbors interacting and facilitates discussions about sustainability.”
During the festival, Sustainable Ballard will also provide details about its tool library, slated to open in the fall. “What we mean by tools goes way beyond yard and shop tools,” Heins said. “We’ll have different stuff for crafts, like sewing machines, and boat repair tools as well.”
A repair café at the festival will offer guests an opportunity to get more life out of old or damaged items.
“You can bring something you can’t figure out how to fix and we’ll give it a shot,” Heins said. She added that Sustainable Ballard will debut its new supporting member option during the festival.
Membership to the nonprofit has always been free – but this will offers individuals an avenue to support the organization financially and benefit from a few extra perks. Everyone who joins as a “supporting member,” regardless of the level, will gain a free membership to the Ballard Tool Library.
Another way to help the organization is to purchase one of its hand-silkscreened t-shirts, which will be available at the festival.
Heins hopes the community will come out to take advantage of the opportunity to learn new ways of being green.
“It’s fun - -and it’s educational,” she said.
To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org