MREA hosts world’s largest energy fair June 18-20

• Custer, Wis., fair features speakers, exhibitors and workshops

The world’s largest renewable energy educational event, the Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair (a.k.a. Energy Fair), is returning to Custer, Wis., June 18-20.

Attracting more than 13,000 environmentally conscientious people each year from around the world, the fair has become a haven for like-minded people interested in preserving the earth and our standard of living through renewable energy. Hosted by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association (MREA), the fair provides attendees with entertainment, speakers, workshops and exhibitors, all with paid admission.

Fair speakers

Fair participants will have the option of hearing four featured speakers this year. On Friday afternoon, participants will hear Richard Perez, publisher and founder of Home Power magazine. With more than 11,000 subscribers, Home Power prides itself on being the hands-on journal of homemade power.

Saturday brings the founder of the Center for Media and Democracy, John Stauber. Stauber is the co-author of four books—Toxic Sludge is Good for You; Mad Cow U.S.A.; Trust Us, We’re Experts; and Weapons of Mass Deception.

Later on Saturday, Amy Goodman, award-winning radio host for Democracy Now!, will provide an inspiring address. Goodman is fearless, covering hot spots and protests on the streets in America, reporting atrocities throughout the world ignored by the corporate media, and conducting hard-hitting interviews in the studio.

On Sunday, fair-goers will hear Richard Heinberg, author of The Party’s Over; Oil, War, and the Fate of Industrial Societies. In his book, Heinberg describes the likely impacts of oil depletion and all of the energy alternatives. Predicting chaos unless the U.S.—the world’s foremost oil consumer—is willing to join with other countries to implement a global program of resource conservation and sharing.

All authors will be available after their speeches to sign copies of their books.

Fair workshops and activities

Fair-goers will have more than 100 options for workshops to attend, free with paid admission. Workshops cover a variety of topics, including photovoltaics, wind systems, water and hydro-electric systems, energy-efficient and passive solar buildings, green building materials, heating and cooling, transportation and fuels, sustainable lifestyles, issues and activism, gardening and landscaping. The fair also has a special set of workshops taught by women for women.

More than 100 exhibitors will be showcasing what their businesses can offer to environmentally concerned buyers. Exhibitors will be selling solar panels, wind turbines, super energy-efficient light bulbs, appliances, books and videos. Other demonstrations include straw bale construction, cordwood masonry, radiant in-floor heating and electric cars.

Fair-goers will have the opportunity to attend a guided bus tour of local homes that are energy efficient and/or use renewable energy systems. Two tours will be offered each day and will visit two to three homes for a $10 fee to cover the cost of the bus and handouts.

The fair is family friendly with activities including solar oven making, musical entertainment and face painting. There will also be a designated tent for children’s activities.

Location and information

Custer is seven miles east of Stevens Point on Highway 10 in central Wisconsin. Once in Custer, follow the signs to the fair (which is being held on the MREA grounds).

Weekend visitors to the area can enjoy hiking on the Ice Age Trail and camping in the parks of northern pine forests. Information on the area: Stevens Point Area Conventions and Visitor’s Bureau at 715-344-2556.

For more information about the 2004 Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Fair, contact MREA at 715-592-6595 or visit

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