I was honestly disappointed by the Charleston Green Fair held in Marion Square. [Editor's note: Charleston City Paper was a co-sponsor of the Green Fair.]
Being an avid "greenie" and supporter of Slow Food and Buy Local, I was disappointed to hear that a company was outsourced from Asheville for a substantial amount of money to produce the event. There are plenty of local organizations and even city programs that are provided to help support these types of events. What a slap in the face to those who work hard and are willing to give the extra time and effort for little pay to help better their local community.
Even further, just putting up a bunch of recycling stations and stands selling overpriced household cleaning products completely discredits the true green movement into what every social movement fears of becoming, a trend.
A Fair Response
The Charleston Green Fair had two missions. The first was to present a large outdoor event in Charleston that diverted a significantly larger amount of waste from the landfill than was typical for other similar events in the Lowcountry. In order to achieve this level of "greening," we felt it was important to hire Seven Star Events, a company who has been producing green events for eight years. In addition, they guaranteed at least an 85 percent waste diversion from the landfill. We are excited to announce that we exceeded our goal by diverting over 94 percent of our waste from Charleston's landfills. While this was not an easy task, we were able to show that through advance planning and the support of additional volunteers, it can be done!
Our second mission was to bring together residents of the Lowcountry and the local businesses that can assist them in living a greener, less wasteful life, showcasing ideas and sharing knowledge that would allow anyone (not just greenies) to contribute toward a more sustainable world.
As a first-year, free event we relied on sponsors and exhibitor booth fees to offset our costs. We were delighted at the response from local independent businesses who made up more than 80 percent of our total exhibitors and helped to sell out our day. In addition to our exhibitors and food vendors, we also spotlighted 17 inspiring nonprofit organizations and showcased the diverse talents of more than 20 speakers and musicians.
While we are already looking for ways we can improve next year, overall the turnout was incredible (over 5,000 people) and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. And thanks to the help of sponsors, support from the City of Charleston and Mayor Riley (who walked to Marion Square), and the expertise of Seven Star Events, we are able to hold our heads up high knowing that we did what we set out to do! Stay tuned for next year!
Co-producer, Charleston Green Fair