Walking along the tree-lined path past the Westport Public Library, live music and laughter could be heard drawing Westport folks to the Levitt Pavilion, the stage for the second annual Eco-Fest. Sponsored by Westport's Green Village Initiative and Staples High School's Club Green, event organizers say it was a rousing success.
"It's going really well," said Staples Environmental Science teacher and Club Green advisor Mike Aitkenhead. "This is our second year and the first one was more music and food, but this year we really wanted to spread the message of sustainability."
The event was doing just that with over 30 exhibits educating festival-goers about all things 'green'.
James Boncek, Technical Director at the Fairfield Theater Company, was dissuaded with trying to purchase an affordable electric car, so he took it upon himself and built one. "I got tired of going to the pump," said Boncek. Boncek and his converted Toyota Tercel were on display at the event, and showed that creating a 100% electric car is possible and not all that financially burdening. He paid $100 for the automobile and the conversion, which was sponsored by MXenergy, cost only $11,000. "It's pretty much a brand new car now."
Food was a big draw at the event, which was, to the delight of festival-goers, free. Skinny Pines Brick Oven Caterer owner Jeff Borofsky and his team were serving up two types of pizza. "The salad pizza has greens from Sport Hill Farm in Easton," said the proprietor as he put another freshly made pie into his portable wood fired brick oven. Their pizzas were 50 percent whole wheat and included local Connecticut based ingredients.
Main Street's Bobby Q's was handing out free bbq sandwiches and to wash it down, Dan Ratner owner of Cell-nique, was giving out tastes of his Super Green Drinks. Cell-nique comes in nine different flavors, contains organic vegetable juice and no added sugar. "It's nourishing, revitalizing and cleansing," the juice purveyor explained as he filled small paper cups with the different flavors. A recycle bin, of course, was right next to the booth for taste-testers to put their empty cups.
Director and Producer Amy Kalafa had her booth set up, getting the word out about her film Two Angry Moms, which was an official selection for the Connecticut Film Festival in 2008 and will be showing at the Westport Library on June 1.
"The film has been shown in all 50 states," Kalafa said. Frustrated with packing her daughter's healthy lunch only to find she was still eating the unhealthy selections offered by the school, Kalafa set out on a mission to change what foods are offered to students. "I feel this should be part of our kid's education," she added.
And while people were milling around, becoming informed and tasting local cuisine, Westport, Fairfield and Weston youths entertained their ears with live music. Folks relaxed on the grass and some danced or tossed a football around, all of them spending the afternoon with the future of our planet in mind.