The Festival of the Arts is getting greener this year, and not just because of the verdant budding of the Myriad Botanical Gardens.
Downtown's annual rite of spring launches Tuesday, the day after Earth Day, which seems appropriate since the event is in the fourth year of its five-year Go Green sustainability initiative.
“We're moving to make this one of the top festivals ... in the country by creating an eco-friendly, zero-landfill event,” said Stacy Hawthorne, communications director for the Arts Council of Oklahoma City, which organizes the festival.
The 47th annual celebration of the visual, performing and culinary arts will take place from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Festival Plaza, on Hudson Avenue and at the Myriad Gardens.
A zero-landfill event uses recycling, composting and other reuse methods to offset any waste “so nothing would go into a landfill,” she said.
The festival's fundraising Angels & Friends Party on Wednesday night will be a zero-landfill celebration, and the event's 6 Day Wine Cellars will be a zero-landfill beverage area.
The festival's programs and event postcards were printed on recycled materials, and a few vendors on International Food Row will serve their delicacies on compostable dishes this year.
“At the end of each day, our food vendors will donate food to City Rescue Mission,” Hawthorne said. “It's just reducing our waste ... and trying to be smart and give back to the community as much as possible, because it's a shame to throw away that amount of food.”
Go Green Initiative
In 2010, Keep America Beautiful and Keep Oklahoma Beautiful honored the festival's Go Green Initiative.
Last year, it received the Keep OKC Beautiful Distinguished Service Visionary Award.
The goal is to make the 2014 festival one of the first in the state to reach the zero-landfill standard.
“We're working toward next year that we'll be composting on the grounds,” Hawthorne said. “It's just one of those things that we're trying to do our part and make our footprint as minimal as possible.”
Other eco-conscious efforts range from the strictly practical — an uptick in the number of recycle bins on the grounds, for instance — to the more artistic, including Thursday's “Trash into Fashion Style Show,” where haute couture green pieces will be judged in categories such as Most Outlandish and Most Creative Use of Materials.
“We work really hard all year long to make sure that that week of the arts festival is absolutely as good as it possibly could be,” said Peter Dolese, executive director of the Arts Council of Oklahoma City. “We are a part of the culture and part of the quality of life in our community and for our state.”