800 at EcoFestival help raise money for Rock Ledge

       The second annual EcoFestival at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site attracted about 800 people Aug. 28, according to organizer Dianne Bertini.

A bicycle "valet" (secured parking area) for bicycles helped out the many adults and children who pedaled to the EcoFestival at the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site Aug. 28.
Westside Pioneer photo

       The event included about 75 vendors, live music, workshops, kids' activities, electronics recycling, alternative vehicles and a “waste audit” by the Recycling Coalition of Colorado Springs resulting in a small-sample finding that more than half of the stuff people throw away could be reused.
       Like last year, Bertini planned the six-hour affair as a fundraiser for Rock Ledge Ranch, which is fighting to stay open after the city eliminated its subsidy in a budget- tight year. Final contributions from the event were still being determined this week, but Ron Wright, president of the ranch's Living History Association (LHA), said he knows of at least $1,700, with proceeds from gate admissions and a percentage of vendor sales still to be counted.
       “Every little bit helps,” he said. “Whatever it is, we need every penny.”
       Bertini expressed some frustration that the attendance total of 800 was no higher than the first such event last September, despite a nice day, more vendors, better- known musicians and broader marketing efforts. She noted one possible conflict: Aug. 28 was also the kickoff weekend for the State Fair in Pueblo. In any event, in the future, “we want to reach the masses,” the organizer said. “We want to appeal to people who are not eco-conscious already.”

Attendees at the EcoFestival Aug. 28 visit some of the 75 vendor tents that were spread out on a field at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site.
Westside Pioneer photo

       She said she is planning a third annual EcoFestival in 2011.
       Bertini was pleased that the electronic recycling totals were up from 2009. “Last year, it was just a handful,” she said. “This year we collected 2,000 pounds.”
       People who paid to recycle electronic equipment got free admission to the event, which otherwise cost $4.
       The Reycling Coalition, a volunteer group representing several area entities and businesses, set up an audit/demonstration in the parking lot near the event entrance. The group had been provided nearly 300 pounds of random trash from Bestway and found 158 pounds that could be recycled.
       According to Alicia Archibald of the Recycling Coalition, the audit marked “the launch of a one-year project” in which coalition members will seek to reach out to the community (for example, neighborhood and homeowner groups), auditing their trash samples and attempting to get people to “think about what they're buying - can you reuse what you've bought, and does it have to go into the trash when you're done with it?”

Children enjoyed cushioned tumbling opportunities, provided by Aerials Gymnastics as one of the attractions during the six-hour, second annual event. An estimated 800 people were in attendance.
Westside Pioneer photo

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