Interest in having booths and making presentations at the Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair (Aug. 8-9 at Ogle County Fairgrounds in Oregon, Ill.) are at the highest levels ever. Participant interest appears high as well; we anticipate our first bus loads coming to the event. One is a student group arriving in a biodiesel-powered bus from the Chicago area and a second is an adult suburban group. We expect the trend of ever-increasing attendance will continue.
Our favorite food vendors, including Duck Soup Coop with natural and organic foods, Fiesta Palace with Mexican food, Ogle County Beef Association serving ribeye, hamburger and brisket sandwiches, Ogle County Grange offering ham sandwiches, corn on the cob and pie and ice cream, and urb garden with organic local foods are returning. A new addition this year is Bread from the Heart, providing organic whole-grain breads, cakes and cookies. Once again, sorghum, maple syrup and honey will be available.
Vehicle displays will include hybrid cars, electric cars and biofuel-powered trucks and cars. The Chicago Prius Club will drive to the fair. A new addition will be the Bloom High School Science Club Biodiesel bus. Zing Trikes will return as will Paul Ring, who rode his bike to the fair last year from Schaumburg. A new transportation presentation will feature I-Go, a rent-a-car program with 11,000 active members. Cities, colleges, universities and businesses are developing car-sharing programs in which members can rent a car for $8.50/hour. So instead of owning a car and having it parked more than actually driven, people can simply rent a car when it is needed.
An outdoor mock-up will include opportunities to participate in building a straw clay house wall, led by Lou-Host Jablonski, Jim Hutchinson and Douglas Piltingsrud. Another approach to building with straw will feature a straw bale wall, illustrating window, door and corner construction and a native prairie plant roof. Dave Smith of Simply Prairies will discuss the processes with those interested.
With more than 100 booths, there will be plenty of opportunities to consider supporting environmental and energy organizations; discuss energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies and batteries with sellers and installers of systems; examine energy, environmental and sustainable living magazines; and buy organically-grown vegetables, prairie plants and books about a variety of topics related to the fair.
Organic lawn, garden and pet supplies will be available. High-quality, recycled clothing to feel good about will also be sold. For those interested in controlling heat gain and loss through windows, examples of attractive custom window treatments will be displayed. Reusable market baskets and bags can be purchased to carry items acquired.
Fair trade products, wool bed covers, gardening tools, green building supplies, progressive message T-shirts and bumper stickers, solar fans and solar tubes for natural light, solar cookers and solar cones for composting household wastes, homemade organic soaps, handmade jewelry from antiques and recycled materials, and natural products for personal and home use will all be available for purchase at the fair.
While a variety of children’s activities are scheduled, parents cannot expect to leave children there for the day.
The event will go on, rain or shine. While some displays are in the open, all presentations and the majority of displays are either in pole buildings or tents.
Major sponsors of the fair are the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, ComEd and The Rock River Times.
Drs. Robert and Sonia Vogl are founders and officers of the Illinois Renewable Energy Association (IREA) and coordinate the annual Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair. The Vogls and the IREA are members of the Environmental Hall of Fame. Dr. Robert Vogl is vice president of Freedom Field, and Dr. Sonia Vogl is a member of Freedom Field’s Executive Committee. The Vogls consult on energy efficiency, renewable energy and green building. They have 3.2 kW of PV and a 1 kW wind generator at their home. Forty acres of their 180-acre home farm are in ecological restorations. They are active in preserving natural areas and are retired professors from Northern Illinois University. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
from the August 5 – 11, 2009 issue