By Teresa McUsic
The fourth annual Ecofest Arlington, a free event to promote environmental awareness, will be held Saturday, Sept. 22 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Founders Plaza, 100 W. Abram St. in downtown Arlington. The event is expected to draw more than 10,000, according to a city official.
The festival will feature more than 40 vendors, who will spotlight their green products and services. Ecofest also will include free demonstrations, classes and kid-centered activities. Live entertainment will feature local bands performing at the outdoor Levitt Pavilion. Tap water will be available for free all day, while food and drinks from local restaurants will be on hand as well.
“This isn’t a city event, this is a regional event,” said Heather Dowell, parks and recreation urban forest land manager for Arlington. “We want everyone in North Texas to come.” Arlington will give away 1,500 trees in 12 varieties on a first come first serve basis at the festival. Last year, 1,000 trees were gone within the first four hours, Dowell said.
Arlington residents also will be able to sign up for a $10 class in the city chambers for making their own rain barrel. Other classes will be open to the public and held throughout the day on irrigation conservation, creating a Smart yard with eco-friendly plants, backyard composting and other ecological topics.
Vendors include DFW Reclaimers Inc., who will pick up old electronics at the event, including computers, printers, cell phones and game consoles. “This is our third year at the event, but the first time we will be picking up electronics,” said Kevin McCanlies, owner of DFW Reclaimers in Watauga. “Typically we get 3-4 tons in a one-day festival.” McCanlies said the company completely breaks down the old electronics before selling the chemicals inside. The company does not ship pieces overseas, he said.
Other vendors include Green Ox Energy Solutions, Texas Organic Lawn Care, Abibow Recycling, Daylight Ranger and Half Price Books, among others.
Dowell said by adding free music and kid’s activities more people come that may not typically seek out an environmental event. “Then they see the products that might help them be more environment and save money,” she said. “You can’t come to this event and not learn something.” In keeping with the message of Ecofest Arlington, event planners are aiming for a zero-waste event. There will be recycling stations set up and vendors are required to use only materials that fit the recycling and composting guidelines.
Along with title sponsor, Republic Services, Ecofest Arlington has joined with other partners, including the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, University of Texas at Arlington, Friends of the Levitt Pavilion, Texas Power, Rental Stop, Fast Signs, Arlington Parks and Recreation and numerous city departments.
“We are very excited for another opportunity to show our citizens how important it is to live a sustainable lifestyle,” said Dowell. “Every year this event gets bigger and better and we know it is making a difference in our community.” For more information about Ecofest Arlington including a complete list of classes, entertainment and vendors visit EcofestArlington.com or call 817-459-5474.
Photos: Arlington EcoFest
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Teresa McUsic is an Arlington-based writer focused on consumer, environmental and health issues for a number of local and national publications. Her column, The Savvy Consumer, appears in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She can be reached at TMcUsic@aol.com