Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mirror, Mirror, on the wall.... Who is the Greenest Fair of them All?

The title begs you to select from a choice of two very difficult and qualified options for this week.   The first option is.... The Oakland County Fair.  Huh?  What you talking about Willis?   Yes... how can the Oakland County Fair not be considered on of the greenest of them all?  Let me tell you... this fair bleeds green,  looks green, and yes... smells green.  I have been embedded in this fair since Tuesday of this week and have provided periodic updates to you.  Today.... I am continuing as promised to update you on the happenings at the fair.  There is so much to report that I will have to keep it limited to just the high lights.  First I will start with a shameless plug for the Oak-Green Challenge Tent.  It is really no stretch at all to say that this is possible the greenest tent on the plant this week.... except that to avoid confusion I will admit that is in fact a blue and white stripped tent.... loaded with "green" content.   

It is no stretch to say that I have become friends with several participants showing some.... well... pretty amazing and "cutting" edge education and content.   We collectively created a game called "The Green Challenge" for each visitor who enters our tent.   I will not go into detail on this at the moment since it will potentially tilt the scales of fairness to those who may come out today or Sunday.   Let me just say this.... I have never seen anyone with the ability to "re-purpose" wood like my new buddy Ray.   This kind fellow is part of a group of folks known as the Detroit Wood Turners.  They save wood from going into the landfills AND create amazing things from the material that was dare I say... once on the "Chopping Block"... get it... Wood...chopping block? 

I will include the following photos of a hat made from recycled wood content.  You might say this could make you "hard headed" if you where to try and purchase this from Ray.  

We turn now to the coordinator of the Green exhibit... Lori Bosetti.  She is showing an excellent demonstration on one of the most talked about issues in the news this week.... no it is not how to balance the Federal Budget... but how a CFL light Bulb out performs the horse and buggy version called the incontinent light bulb.  Lori has no fear and will take on any and all on the facts.  As Will Rogers once said...."I only know what I read in the paper...."  and that may in fact apply to what you are hearing about CFL's.  Lori will set it straight for you. 

This next exhibit is all about.... deep fried food.  What how can deep fried food be green?  And to that note.... this fair does have a pretty serious issue with fried food offerings.  I did not say it was a healthy living and nutrition fair!   These vendors deep fry everything!  Twinkies, candy bars, fries, chicken, elephant ears,  and for gosh shakes why would you deep fry vegetables?  THEY DO! 
The point hear is that my new buddy Lee has a Mercedes diesel that has been retrofitted to run on re-pursed vegetable oil from deep fat fries.   Amazing.... just see the future of the fast food industry model... you pull up to the drive-thru and order up your burgers and fries, have them give you and oil, lube, and fill up.... window cleaning... and your off and running again?  

My buddy Damon Dotson has a pretty amazing display of solar panels, wind turbine, and solar water pump.  One of the high lights of the week for me was a little toddler waddling up to Damon's baby sized pool display with a solar powered water pump... picture in the child's mind a giant drinking fountain.... this sent us running to tell the boy...."don't drink the water" as he was already in the squat position with lips pursed.  It must have been disappointing for him!

We have an ecological awareness presentation by my bud Chris.  He has an excellent presentation on the controversial practice of "Fracking" or Hydrolic Fracturing of the bed rock deep in the earth.  Chris has some pretty amazing stories and facts to share about what this is doing to the drinking water in many wells around the world.... and now coming to a water shed near you.... unless you speak up and sign off on his petition to ban this practice in Michigan. 

We have a representative from Shaklee Products know as Down to Earth Enterprises.  Angela has some very impressive products that help you go green and stay clean.  Being the science junkie that I am she amazed me with her "How to make water... wetter..." display.  You will have to stop in  and see her to get the science behind this mysterious phenomena.            

The folks from the Oakland County "OakGreen" Challenge have material here available to better understand what is happening on the County level to support green initiatives.  This is a county wide initiative and Challenge thrown down by Brooks Patterson himself to reduce energy consumption by 10% by the end of 2012.  That applies to homeowners, businesses, and local government.

Its already half time for 2011 so you'd better get started on this!  Materials are available on line with the link located above this content. 

Last we have yours truly...   The on display.  We are doing our part to tell people about our education and awareness programs... now booking for fall of 2011.   People generally express their words of encouragement and show of support for what were trying to accomplish in the way of "green shifts" and the fundraising that makes sense message.   Thank you for that support AND we have added several tens of new "green advocates" this week.

This week has been exceptional.  I am a big believer in quality over quantity.  That best describes the flow of the week here at the fair.   We really are a side show of a much larger and well established fair of many long standing traditions.  I have thoroughly enjoyed the grass roots nature of this fair.  Those who know... know.  Then there are those who don't.... and likely don't care.  I feel connected here with the families camping out with their kids AND animals.  I love watching the youngsters come and go with their "western" gear on.... boots with spurs include.  In fact... I have even fell in love with my truck again this week.  With new front shocks its good as new pushing 100K.  I enjoy the gravel roads, the green fields, the beautiful barns.... and.... the MONSTER TRUCKS!  

  Which now brings me full circle again... you will notice the signs posted throughout the fair grounds  letting you know that the fair in of itself... has made some significant "green shifts".  There were many involved in the process to make this happen.  The fair Board in of itself is responsible for coming to the realization that this could be and should be done.   As the signage indicates the Michigan Soy Producers helped make this possible with a grant that funded much of the soy based products used through out the fair grounds.  From the Soy Bio Diesel running the rides all the way to the "Stinkey Pee Eater" (did I mention how much joy this brings me to say this?  You should try it too!) the fair indeed make a significant shift.  It is clear that this was the right thing to do.... simply because it is "clear".... meaning that with all this equipment running... I did not detect a scent of diesel and the sky was clear as evidence by the photos.... although truth be told... the monster trucks did blow out a few rather large belches.... but hey.... you gotta be realistic and those trucks are nothing but magnetic for the crowds. 


Now... on to the other end of town to Ferndale Michigan and the "Live Green Fair".  I stopped out to the location on Friday to visit with local on line publication owner Crystal Proximire to get the low down on her venture AND the fair.

Crystal.... it turns out also has a relationship with Western Market... who we are working with and promoting the composting systems with.  This weekend my good friend and the hardest working (and event media point person) man in the "Green Business".... John Carlos of will be showing those small yet significant composting systems.

These systems are a super easy way to ramp up or get started with household composting.  The key features are... no smell, no bugs, no mess, AND the corn starch based liners can go right into your system.... contents AND bag... no muss... no fuss...     

If you don't know John... chances are you will.

I can tell you that this fair is in fact the show.  In other words... it is not a Fair with a green side show... it is a green fair no question about it.  These visitors are here for a purpose and that is to find out about the latest and greatest in the green industries.  This crowd is not thinking about going green... they have gone there.... a long time ago .... and are looking for the next level.     

Do I wish I were at this fair for the weekend?  I told a good friend of mine that it is like the little angel and devil on both sides of my head.   I hear them fighting it out... (Devil) Don... you've been locked down at this country fair for almost a week.  Pack it up and head to the action!....  (Angel)... Now Don... you made a promise to be here all week... and that goes to Sunday.  So... even if I see conflicted.... I am content to stay firmly planted and hope that we grow enough to cover both events in the coming year.   Ferndale has done an amazing job of reinventing itself with the times.  There leaders in the County with the Main Street Program.  They have a very strong DDA and Chamber of Commerce.... and the occupancy rates seem to bee stable.   Note the recent improvements to the Walk ability of their down town.  Even Woodward is now much more manageable by pedestrians and bicyclists.  Yes Oxford... it can be done....  

With that in mind.... the mirror on the wall will have to settle on a split decision.  Both fairs offer excellent opportunities and my recommendation would be to hit one today and the other on Sunday! But... I can guarantee you will not get elephant ears and deep fried veggie's in Ferndale! 
I'm out.... off to another day of paradise in the country side... ;)