“We wanted to show the world that Walworth County is a vibrant part of the new green economy,” said managing partner Catherine McQueen, “and that’s exactly what EcoFair360 did. The majority of our exhibitors and presenters were local, from right here in the community. It is clear that every business that wants to thrive today, and thrive tomorrow, is making green a part of their business plan.” A number of exhibitors and presenters have already expressed interest in participating in next year’s EcoFair360.
Keynote presentations were given by Tom Feiza, Wisconsin’s “Mr. Fix-It,” on Friday and representatives of Milwaukee’s Growing Power on Saturday. A variety of other presentations had full tents, including two by beekeeper Charlie Koenen. “He had standing room for both presentations,”
The Fair was organized by Kreiss and McQueen through the Eco-Vision Sustainable Learning Center, the organization they created to promote green growth and green entrepreneurship in Walworth County. “The Fair was a focal point...a gathering place,” says McQueen. “We will be asking many of the participants to take part in other events throughout the year. Once a year simply isn’t enough.”
EcoFair360 found most of its sponsors in the local community as well, including Cost Containment International, a local energy procurement business, Gateway Technical College, Alliant Energy, Wisconsin’s Focus On Energy, RENEW Wisconsin, Orion Energy Systems and the Geneva Lake Conservancy. Promotion was assisted by media sponsors including WUWM in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Public Radio, local publisher CSI Media, Conscious Planet Media and Chicago publication Mindful Metropolis. “Our JEM grant, through the Wisconsin Department of Tourism, was very important to help us market throughout the area,” says Kreiss. “We were also awarded Travel Green Wisconsin certification for the steps we took to minimize the environmental impact of the Fair.”
As part of their impact plan, EcoFair360 purchased 100 Green-e® Energy certified 100% wind power RECs (Renewable Energy Certificates)
Plans are already underway for the 2011 version of EcoFair360. “People are already asking; we continue to get requests through the http://www.ecofair360.com website,” says Kreiss. Kreiss and McQueen plan to add more booths, more stages...and more Walworth County next year. “We will have more time to do outreach this year,” says McQueen. “A lot of local organizations came in right before we opened: for example, Four Lakes Athletic Club, Delbrook Golf Club, the Shrimp House, J. Roberts and others all donated silent auction items. With more time, we will see a lot more familiar faces.”
“We pulled off EcoFair360 with a very small staff in less than nine months,” said Kreiss. “Next year we will have more time and a lot more experience. Expect bigger and better.”
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The Eco-Vision Sustainable Learning Center promotes renewable energy, energy efficiency, green building and sustainable living through education and demonstration. Our goals are to promote and develop scalable solutions for renewable energy and sustainable development, support renewable energy projects though the purchase of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs), and, as a community, find new ways and build new models to make renewable energy, energy efficiency, green building and sustainable living an integral part of American life.