Large crowds returned to the MI Earth Day Fest in the Rochester Municipal Park this past weekend, thanks in part to good weather and to improved downtown Rochester parking. Attendees came from all around metro Detroit, and as far away as Flint, Marine City and Grand Rapids. Event organizer MI Green Team L3C estimated weekend attendance at 30,000. Eventgoers were welcomed with Whole Foods Market tote bags, filled with goodies and sponsor giveaways.
Local officials, including first-year Rochester City Manager Blaine Wing, were on hand for the kickoff/awards ceremony where local kids received recognition for their winning art projects from USGBC Green Schools Committee, and four sustainability leaders were inducted into the MI Green Hall of Fame. These included Jim Leidel of Oakland University, Kathy Vosburg of the Macomb County Board of Commissioners, Deanne Bednar of the Strawbale Studio, and John Carlos of GreeningDetroit.com, whose award was presented by Matt Gibb, Deputy Oakland County Executive. In addition Wendy Barthelemy of Rochester PTA Green Schools was recognized by Carmen Welch, DTE Energy Director of Customer Experience, for her participation in the pilot of a new school fundraising program, the DTE GreenCurrents Enrollment Challenge.
Large audiences enjoyed a full weekend lineup of live music and dance performances on the Emagine Entertainment Stage. Rochester Hills vocal coach Jennifer Kincer presented the program of outstanding local talent and performing groups, including the Pistons PAC and Motor City Irish dancers, the School of Rock, and the Blood & Wine and Kent Koller trios. The stage also hosted several special events including awards for the Earth Day Parade and the 2nd annual RARA Earth Day 5K, and appearances by Scrat and Sid from the Ice Age movies.
“It was great to see people enjoying themselves — with entertainment, healthy food, door prizes, kids’ activities and free massage — at an event whose purpose is to address so many important and pressing issues. It’s definitely a big part of the event’s focus on solutions and celebration. And, it was a fun way for attendees to relax after serious shopping and sampling at 100 green and healthy products exhibits, checking out expert presentations and wellness programs, and exploring networking opportunities,” said the festival’s Outreach Manager, Steve Litz.
The festival’s message – to Make Earth Day Matter — extended well beyond the festival itself, thanks to generous media partnerships and coverage, which included live TV news feeds on Friday and Saturday, many articles in local newspapers and magazines, and PSAs on local radio stations. Media partners were Fox 2 Detroit, WNIC 100.3 FM, WWJ Newsradio 950, The Oakland Press, The Macomb Daily, Rochester & Rochester Hills Gazette, CMNtv and GreeningDetroit.com.
Event Manager John Batdorf lauded the event’s sponsors, “We landed the dream team of sponsors this year, including SMART Bus, which displayed its newest propane-powered bus, and DTE Energy, which promoted its GreenCurrents voluntary renewable energy program and displayed a plug-in hybrid. The Home Depot of Rochester Hills provided supplies and volunteers, and our newest sponsor, MacKellar Promotional Marketing, provided organic cotton t-shirts, hats, and bamboo award plaques. The event was able to offer free admission, programs and shuttle parking with the generous support of these sponsors.”
Photos of the event are available on the festival’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/miearthday under photo album “2016 MI Earth Day Fest.” Dates for next year’s 12th annual MI Earth Day Fest have been scheduled for Earth Day weekend, April 21-23, 2017. Details will be available at www.miEDF.com.
MI Green Team L3C (MGT) is Michigan’s leading green/wellness network and event producer. Its mission is to promote green living, business and community. MGT is a Michigan “low-profit, limited-liability company,” an innovative business entity that uses business best practices to pursue a socially beneficial purpose. Net profits from MGT events are donated to local green programs. For more information, visit www.migreenteam.com.