April 29, 2005
You don’t have to be a card-carrying member of an environmental group to enjoy this weekend’s Sun Festival Southwest — it’s simply about improving quality of life, says Belle Starr, event co-producer.
A reinvention of last year’s Sol Fest Southwest, the Sun Festival is a weekend designed to educate families on renewable energy and healthy living.
"I would really challenge you to find five people who could really say, ‘I have a great life, it’s so much fun.’ We don’t get to do that anymore," says Starr. "We want to invite people into a process where they start to look at that as an option. We want to help people get healthier and happier."
Visitors will have a chance to make a positive contribution to the environment, just by eating. There will be composting — burying all food waste in the ground at a farm to enrich the soil.
Kids will not be left out, either. The organizers recognize the importance of teaching children on the benefits of being environmentally conscious, says Starr.
"Children respond to passion, and you’ll find a lot of passion at the event," she says.
Kids will enjoy the Sun-Kids’ Play Village with games, live animals, theater, dance and art projects hosted by The Village Connection and Roots & Shoots, Jane Goodall’s environmental/peace organization for children.
Young Arizonans are also the biggest benefactors of an event like the Sun Festival, says Starr, because people’s choices make will affect their children’s futures.
"You have to constantly ask, ‘What are we leaving them and what opportunities are they having?’ she says. "It’s not just about leaving them a pretty lake and clean air. We want to teach (kids) and give them tools so they can feel some kind of connection to themselves, their families and the things around them."
More than 50 workshops will feature speakers who will discuss energy, green building, recycling and other entertainment experiences.
"We want to spur exciting conversations and debates because that’s what we need to do now," says Starr. "We want to open that communication and engage other perspectives."
Topics will include improving the home environment, voting with your dollars and the connection between food and health.
"We want to widen the berth of questions and do some soul searching around quality of life," says Starr.
If you go
What: Sun Festival Southwest
When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Where: WestWorld of Scottsdale, 16601 N. Pima Road
Cost: One-day: Adults $12, students and seniors $7. Two-day: Adults $20, students and seniors $12.
Information: (480) 488-8792 or www.sunfestival.net
Sun Festival Southwest highlights
• An Idiot’s Guide to Green Building seminar for local builders and contractors, 1 to 4 p.m. today. Free.
• Solar Home Bike Tour, 20-mile ride to visit three homes that operate on renewable energy, including the world’s first hydrogen-powered home, 7 to 10 a.m. Sunday. Registration 6 a.m. Open to the first 150 people. Free.
• Community networking mixer, 6 p.m. Saturday. Free.
• McDowell Mountain Music Festival attendees and foster families with foster ID get in free.