Old Florida Celebration of the Arts

March 8, 2015

Since 2010, when the Cedar Key Arts Center agreed to become the Coordinating Sponsor for the Old Florida Celebration of the Arts, the idea of putting on an ever-greener event has been in place.  Over the years numerous steps have been take, but this year the coordinators agreed it was time to commit  to putting on a sustainable event.

As many of you may remember, in 2011 the first “central” waste station in the park was set up.  Manned by members of the newly formed Energy Advisory Panel (EAP), festival goers were encouraged to help separate Recyclables from Landfill Waste as they learned more about the new Cedar Key Recycling program from volunteers. Over the next couple of years Cedar Key School Students, earning credits toward the Environmental Scholarship set up by the EAP, took over the Central Waste Station at both the Fall and Spring Festivals and added Compost Containers in addition to the recycling and trash containers.

Last Spring, when the OFCA Working Committee decided on the 2015 festival theme, Seeing the Art in Nature, the committee agreed that it was time to move to the next level and plan a Sustainable Event with the goal of minimizing all landfill waste.  Together with the Cedar Key Lions Club, who is responsible for coordinating all non-profit food & informational vendors in the park for both festivals, the committee has worked step by step over the last year to pursue its goal of minimizing landfill waste, maximizing composting and recycling, and applying the principals of REDUCE, REUSE, RETHINK, & REPURPOSE to the numerous decisions that affect festival coordination.  Here are some of the things we’ve done.

Signs made for the 50th Annual Spring Arts Festival were worded so they could be used for the Seafood Festival and other City Events as needed.

Name Badges were collected on Sunday afternoon from Volunteers and Artists so they could be used year after year.

Environmental Stewardship Awards were presented by the Lions Cub to Food Booths that made the transition to all recyclable or compostable products for the 2014 Fall Seafood Festival

Electronic communication was used whenever possible for all committee and artist communications. When paper copies were necessary front-back copying was preferred and paper products were chosen that were either from recycled paper or companies that take part in the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

Bulk sources for recyclable/compostable items were identified and shared with the non-profit groups in addition to bulk purchasing of utensils (SPORKS) to minimize cost.

Festival T-shirts were purchased from Ecoconcious, a company that uses 100% organic cotton and makes a donation to Environmental non-profit organizations when Blended materials are used.

Additional containers to facilitate composting and recycling were purchased and new signage was added. In addition, efforts will be made to make sure containers are emptied regularly during the event. 

The GOAL, “no landfill waste”, is lofty and the committee knows it will take more time and effort to apply the same principles to the entire venue and work toward similar cooperative efforts with local businesses and visiting artists, but as we all have heard – IT’S NOT EASY BEING GREEN!

By Bev Ringenberg, OFCA Event Coordinator