More programs at the fair — this weekend, Aug. 23-24

By Drs. Robert & Sonia Vogl
President and Vice President, Illinois Renewable Energy Association

Varied programs and options for learning will be offered at this weekend’s Illinois Renewable Energy and Sustainable Lifestyle Fair, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 23-24, at Ogle County Fairgrounds, 1440 N. Limekiln Road, Oregon, Illinois. There will also be opportunities to purchase products that are healthy, organic, sustainable or educational.

In addition to electric cars brought by their owners, three electric bicycles, called e-bikes, will be available for viewing. They are affordable alternative transportation. The owner of the bikes feels most people would greatly increase their usage and exercise just because they are so much fun.

He has an auto-shift 250-watt model, a folding 300-watt model, and a recumbent 350-watt model. He charges them (and a Bosch lawnmower and many other tools) from a solar generator.

An innovative program of developing students as agents of change and ecological activism through experiences with appropriate groups in America will be presented by staff of Northern Illinois University’s International Program. Junior college-age Philippine students from varied backgrounds were brought to Illinois for several weeks visiting organizations, agencies and individuals to learn how to develop activism programs in their hometowns. One visit was with Bob, Sonia and Lin Vogl where they learned about solar electricity, ecological restoration and solar cooking.

Interesting programs will focus on alternative energy. In addition to solar, wind and geothermal, opportunities to discuss gasifiers and nuclear energy all day, as well as specific programs on these topics (see schedule) will be offered.

Community-based programs, political parties and nonprofits will provide thought-provoking conversation. Magazines and newspapers will be distributed.

Healthy, organic, sustainable or educational products can be bought at the fair. Locally-grown vegetables and native plants, both favorites for years, will again be there. Locally-grown foods are often more nutritious, having been picked at the peak of ripeness. They also are less energy intensive in terms of transportation. Even a small planting of native plants can help to restore ecological balance. Soft, hypoallergenic alpaca fiber clothing and decorations, essential oils and natural health, wellness and cleaning products will be available. Handmade luxury soap using custom recipes contain natural ingredients such as lard, beeswax and oils that can be used to help clear skin. Soaps can serve as not only soap, but also shampoo and shaving cream. Handmade jewelry using discarded materials, precious metals and fabric that delight the eye will be sold.

Usborne Books, winner of the 2012 and 2013 Children’s Publisher of the Year Award, will sell high-quality children’s books of all genres. We bought Usborne science books for our children when they were young.

Energy efficiency and renewable energy products including solar tubes that channel sunlight directly into a room providing full spectrum light with no electricity used, whole-house fans and attic insulation are available at affordable prices.

Major sponsors of the fair are the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, The Rock River Times and the Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department.

Admission to the fair is $5 per day or $7 for both days. Ages 12-16 are admitted free, as are members of the Illinois Renewable Energy Association. The fair also offers live music from Tom Minnihan, Minimal (featuring Zack DeCarlo), Neil Andrews of Case In Point, Don Smith, Mike Minnihan, Adam Gasser, Adam Tobias and the JH Trio. See for program and schedule.

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. E-mail

From the Aug. 20-26, 2014, issue

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