The green festival is growing.
The 6th annual Okanagan Organic Festival will expand to include two venues, organizers say, after the successful event, rather ironically, experienced some parking problems.
“Summerhill last year was phenomenal and we really maximized the space,” said Wendy Wright, with the Okanagan Greens Society.
“But there was an urban legend going around that we had some parking problems, and we did actually struggle with space for cars at the winery.”
With some 1,200 people through the doors last year, and 1,500 expected for this year, the society decided it couldn’t risk having people park along the main road leading to Kettle Valley any longer and opted to partner with Okanagan College instead.
As such, OC’s new Centre for Learning will host an alternative transportation and green building extravaganza, and people will then be able to take a shuttle up to Summerhill Pyramid Winery on Chute Lake Road from the college site to see the rest.
Some 72 exhibitors will show at the event in categories like Activist Alley, Eco Presentations, the BCSEA Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Show, Green Fashion and Gifts.
Entertainment will be local with several musicians, like Ari Neufeld, Andrew Hay and Lucy Sharratt joining a line-up including Kiki the Eco Elf, a popular local kids entertainer.
Organizers are hoping to raise 2,500 pounds of food for the Kelowna Food Bank by charging a food bank donation in addition to the $6 entrance fee (cyclists are free).
Among the speakers will be a representative from CBAN, or the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network.
“She’s kind of like Madonna for the organic food geeks in the crowd,” said Wright.
Every year the fair also hosts a consignment fashion show and this year representatives from the college will speak to some of the green building elements in both the Centre for Learning and their new state-of-the-art Penticton campus expansion, which features a building going for Living Building designation.
The Centre for Excellence in Penticton is a net-zero energy building, which uses the largest photovoltaic solar array on a non-utility institutional building in Canada that’s tied to a power grid.
It has solar hot water, a green roof, solar chimneys and uses beetle-kill wood in its design elements, to name but a few features that vice-president of education Andrew Hay will touch on when he takes a turn at the mic.
The festival runs Sunday, Sept. 18, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is $6 plus a food bank donation at the door.