By ANGYE MORRISON
Georgia Southern University’s Office of Leadership and Community Engagement will host its annual GreenFest event, to be held in downtown Statesboro on Oct. 9.
GreenFest is a festival that focuses on environmental sustainability, seeking to educate those just beginning that journey while supporting those already on it. The event is packed with green exhibits, vendors and workshops designed to educate visitors about green living. Festival-goers can enjoy live music, children’s activities, and green products and sustainable solutions for the whole family.
Vendor check-in and set-up is slated for 7:30, and the festival will kick off at 9 a.m. at the Bulloch County Courthouse and along East Main Street, which will be closed from the courthouse to the railroad tracks.
From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. there will be ongoing events like a food preservation workshop at the Main Street Farmers Market, an electronics recycling drop-off at Courtland and Siebald streets, and 3-D planters and keychains at the Plant Yourself at the Fab Lab every 30 minutes.
In addition, there will be game day recycling information, house plants and related accessories, fine art and a live honeybee display by East Georgia State College. The Ogeechee Riverkeepers will be on hand to provide information on water conservation, and Keep Statesboro Bulloch Beautiful will host a Clean Up the Boro event. Participants will meet in front of Synovus Bank at the KSBB tent at 9 a.m.
Cami Sockow, Sustainability coordinator for the Office of Leadership and Community Engagement at GSU, says the event will feature around 30 vendors. This year, the event will feature a raffle, which people can enter by scanning a QR code that will be visible on posters to be found all around GreenFest.
Attendees can scan the code, input a vendor and what they learned, and receive rewards — the more scans, the more the rewards. For 10 entries, participants get a chance to win a swag bag, and for 15, there’s a chance to win a gift basket. The baskets are themed “Morning in the Boro,” and “A Night in the Boro.”
Sockow says participation in this way will help organizers learn what people enjoyed at the festival, as well as what they learned. She added that GreenFest is an important event for many reasons.
“A lot of us are aware, generally, that we are facing a lot of environmental issues,” she said. “This event helps people hone in a little bit on how they can contribute more positively as an individual.”
It’s also important, she added, because of the presence of the vendors, who can answer people’s questions about what they are already doing, and what they may be considering doing, when it comes to being better environmentally, and being a “better environmental citizen.”
“I think this event is something that just helps people engage a little bit more, and have fun while doing it,” she said. “It’s not something that’s all doom and gloom; people have fun with it. It’s something that people can get involved in that will hopefully bring them some joy by coming and visiting and just having a good time with everybody there.”
Sockow says that the issues that face Statesboro and Bulloch County environmentally are the same as what are seen nationally, and GreenFest can help people see those local issues, as well as what solutions there are. It can also point them toward groups or organizations that can help them in their own efforts.
As for COVID-19 concerns, Sockow says vendors will be spread out so that people can be easily distanced.
“We will be heavily spacing out the vendors and the tents, so that we don’t have folks that are just right on top of each other,” she said.
Sockow says the event is family-friendly, and that there is something for everyone and every educational level.
“No matter where you are at on the environmental spectrum, we are here to help you move into the next space. We love having conversations with people about what they’re doing or what they want to do,” she said. “Everyone is welcome and we hope to see a lot of folks there.”
For more information on this year’s festival or to see a complete list of vendors, go online at https://students.georgiasouthern.edu/LeadServe/sustainability/.