What happened at the 2015 Living Lightly Fair?

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Even though a thunderstorm rolled through Muncie the morning of the Ninth Annual Living Lightly Fair this fall, the event still attracted more than 1,900 attendees, including more than 125 volunteers who helped to make the fair a smooth-running event.

In addition to good participation at the fair, financial support was strong for the fair in 2015. Besides continued support from Muncie’s generous foundations – the Ball Brothers Foundation, the George and Frances Ball Foundation and the Community Foundation of Muncie & Delaware County, we had 10 supporters vs. the six we had in 2014. We also had more than 20 individuals who made personal contributions to support the activities of the fair.

The supporters were Jarden Home Brands – Makers of Ball Canning Products; Ball State University’s Center for Energy Research, Education, Service; Ball State Freshman Connections (provided bus transportation from Ball State to the fair); Ball State Landscape Architecture; MITS; Ardagh Group; The Knapp Supply Company, Inc.; My Gardener Yard Care, Inc.; Ball State Natural Resources & Environmental Management; Robert Cooper Audubon Society; and Sustainable Indiana 2016.

And, of course, the fair would be next to impossible without the continued support of Minnetrista – our partner. Minnetrista allows us to use its facilities and grounds, and members of each year’s Living Lightly Fair Planning Committee – made up of at least 15 local residents – rely on the expertise of some of the organization’s special events staff.

As a result of such strong and broad support, Living Lightly Fair attendees had a variety of activities to participate in during the 2015 event.

Attendees could listen to eight wonderful speakers in addition to the featured speaker. All the speakers had interested and engaged audiences, making worthwhile the time the speakers took out of their busy schedules to present at the fair. More than 200 people attended the presentations. Attendance varied from four to 45.

Featured speaker Wyatt Watkins combined storytelling with music to delight the audience. Watkins is a founding board member of Hoosier Interfaith Power & Light – an ecumenical organization that promotes sustainability and awareness of climate change. Because our featured speaker was faith based, we made a special effort to reach out to more than 150 religious organizations in the Muncie area and invited their congregations to attend the Living Lightly Fair.

At the fair, attendees could collect information from or buy sustainable products from more than 50 registered vendors.

Children could engage in six different activities, including the perennial favorite – Ball State University’s Clay Guild’s “River of Fish.”

Tonos Triad and Jason Beeson entertained attendees with live music.

One new fair activity was modeled after NPR’s “Story Corps” involved attendees having a chance to tell their green stories. For attendees who didn’t have time to tell their story, they could write sustainable messages on a white board. The stories and “white board” sustainability messages will be posted on the Living Lightly Fair website, http://www.livinglightlyfair.org, in the next few months.

Two more new activities were having a representative from the Purdue University Extension to counsel interested attendees on how to eat better for less and a diabetes nurse educator from IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital who was available to answer attendees’ questions.

We also tried a banner contest. One banner did come in, but without a name. The rain prevented the arranged dance performance.

Each year we try to have a local car dealer bring its hybrid cars for attendees to inspect. This year two sales representatives from Victory Honda brought two of the car dealership’s hybrid cars to the event. Not only could attendees learn about Honda hybrid cars, they could take one for a test drive.

Payne’s Restaurant from Gas City and Upland again was the official food provider for the Living Lightly Fair, and the owners cooked up healthy and delicious food for attendees.

Next, Ball State’s Unified Media produced for the first time a “Campus Green Guide” that helped to promote the Living Lightly Fair and was timed to circulate a few days before the Living Lightly Fair.

Finally, plans for the 10th anniversary of the Living Lightly Fair are already underway. 2015 attendees told us they want more vendors, more speakers and more activities. We expect the 10th anniversary Living Lightly Fair, which will be Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, will be the best attended ever.

We would like to thank all of the people and organizations in our community who help to make the Living Lightly Fair a success year after year.

– Sheryl Swingley, chairwoman

2015 LLF Planning Committee

 

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