Sustainable Ballard Festival draws a healthy crowd

By Val Gilmore, UW News Lab

It was fitting that the ninth annual Sustainable Ballard Festival took place under sunny skies. Solar energy was a major theme at last Sunday’s event at the Ballard Commons Park. The stage was entirely powered by solar, and youngsters played  with a wide range of solar-powered games.

Moving to the steady beat of local bands, throngs of people visited the more than 50 booths and dined from food trucks throughout the day. Orna Locker, vice president of Sustainable Ballard, could not have been more
thrilled with the turnout, especially given that it’s an entirely volunteer-run event. “Today is a celebration of the community’s efforts towards sustainability,” she said.

And a celebration it was. The dozens of booths featured everything from locally produced food to alternative transportation choices, with the majority of them seeking to spread awareness about solar energy. The latter included non-profits focused on public education as well as businesses offering solar applications. With many young couples and families in attendance, the event was marked by excitement and energy. “Community building is a huge focus today,” said Locker, “including everything green and healthy, solar energy, local food, water conservation— all things that this festival represents.”

This is Locker’s third year working for the event—the biggest gathering she has seen to date. Deborah Wade, a festival visitor and Magnolia resident, matched Locker’s excitement for moving toward a sustainable, community-based way of life. Between watching her grandchildren play with solar-powered toy cars and listening to the live music, Wade said the festival inspired her in a big way. “I want to go more sustainable, recycle and grow my own vegetables” after being here today, she said.

Val Gilmore is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.

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