This weekend, The Center for Rural Development will be turning green — not with envy, but with environmentally-friendly fun.
The Kentucky Green Living Fair returns this coming weekend for its fourth installment, and the event has quickly sprouted a lofty reputation for itself in the community.
“Every year, I say I’m really excited about it,” said organizer Jamie Fitzwater, “but this year, I’m really, really excited.”
That’s because the Green Living Fair is bigger and better than ever, with 82 exhibitors promising plenty of fun, food, fur, and fresh ideas.
The Kentucky Green Living Fair goes from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 8 at The Center. Cost for admission is $10 for adults, and free for children ages 12 and under.
One distinct difference is the ability to host breweries, thanks to changes in the last year in Kentucky law, and two of the area’s most popular will be on hand to showcase the art of making beer the grassroots way. Jarfly Brewing Company of Somerset and West Sixth Brewing of Lexington with both be at this year’s Green Living Festival.
Thirsty folks can use their potables to wash down food from a number of vendors, including food trucks from Maysville and Western Kentucky that serve Kentucky Proud products, which indicate that what you’re eating benefits the state’s farm families. And while you’re eating listen to any of the eight musical acts that will be performing on stage for event entertainment.
Another new addition this year is hemp. After developments in recent years allowing agricultural hemp growth, a plant found bountifully in Kentucky, many farmers are working with the versatile product, and Fitzwater is eager to showcase this blossoming era in Bluegrass agriculture at the Green Living Fair.
“It’s a brave new frontier for Kentucky farmers to make money,” said Fitzwater. “A hundred years ago, most Kentucky farms did grow him. There’s a pilot program going on mostly for research purpose. Some people grow hemp for seeds, (related to) homeopathic medicine. There’s someone coming who grows a variety of hemp for fuel, to replace firewood basically. They were growing it up on a reclaimed mountaintop removal site in eastern Kentucky, so that’s kind of cool.
“There will be info for farmers interested in growing hemp and anyone learning more about it,” she added.
One of the most popular features each year is animal life — lots of fun for children (and children at heart) to touch, pet, and learn more about. The always-beloved baby chicks will be back, as well as alpacas and goats — including a vendor who owns a goat landscaping company, using the notoriously hungry animals to chomp your weeds in lieu of gas-guzzling lawnmowers and the like.
There will also be a number of workshops and opportunities to learn about how you can do more to protect the health of the earth, from solar power demonstrations to planting seeds at home, and much more.
The Kentucky Green Living Fair has drawn thousands of visitors to The Center over the last couple of years, but for many in the community, environmentally-minded lifestyles may still be a bit of a curiosity. Fitzwater welcomes all to the event, from hardcore earth-warriors to those simply looking for something entertaining to do on a Saturday afternoon — Green Living is for everyone.
“For people who care about sustainability and care about the earth, sometimes you can feel a little lonely, like you’re the only one in your circle of friends who thinks about whether to use paper towels, or throwing away the Styrofoam from your take-out,” said Fitzwater. “For a lot of people (the Fair) is a chance to meet other people who are doing it, or just to meet old friends.
“We also talk to a lot of people who don’t care about sustainability but think it’s fun and keep coming back, but every year, maybe they make one little change to make their life a little greener,” she continued. “It’s all about baby steps. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.”