Why an Interview,,,

Over the years we have been able to meet and talk with some very interesting people. They have shared with us their knowledge and have provided us with a great deal of insight as to how and why festivals and events work and why they are so important to our communities and to the Province of Ontario. With this in mind, we decided that we wanted you to meet and hear from some of the wonderful people who work so hard to provide us all with such wonderful Ontario Festivals and Events! We are pleased and proud to present "THE INSIDE SCOOP"!

Friday, July 30, 2021

Go Green (Part Four)

 Here are the final “Green Ideas”, at least for now!

Green Website:  I have visited a few websites lately that have included their “Green” philosophy and policies. The most notable of these is the Toronto Zoo. I think that this is a great idea because it shows the organization and its management’s commitment to “Go Green”. Their website outlines all the actions the Zoo and its staff is going to take and the benefit derived from these actions. I believe that more festivals, events and attractions should consider their commitment to “Going Green” and then let visitors know what their commitment is. A great example of this is Canada’s Largest Ribfest in Burlington. There website has a special section that tells visitors that they have gone “100% Green”. They then outline everything that they accomplished at their 2008 event!

Signage: Why not use more signage to replace expensive and wasteful paper programs. Most of these are eventually thrown in the garbage. The use of informative well-placed signs will enhance your visitors’ event experience. Signs can be used both to direct visitors to specific locations and to inform them what activities are taking place, where they are taking place and when they are taking place. The key to using signage properly is to have enough of them to be truly useful. Organizers should put themselves in the place of out-of-town visitors who know nothing about the town or the event and then place the signs accordingly. Lack of proper signage is the number one mistake festival and event organizers make! Besides, signs can be sponsored and therefore become a profit centre! If you are concerned about promoting your activities, a well-designed website with plenty of details and well-placed signage should be the trick! If you are still not convinced, try taking a survey of festival/event visitors to see what they think, good signage versus paper programs. I think you will be surprised by their answers, especially if you tell them that you are considering the change in order to help the environment!

Shuttle Service: If you offer a “People Moving” service, is it “Green”? Are the buses you are using gas driven? If they are, you are not “Green” even if they are diesel. Why not consider a “Greener” option! Most communities have horse drawn wagons readily available. These are a lot of fun and certainly “Green”! If you want something a little more exotic, there are electric trains and vehicles available for hire. This option is more expensive, but the benefits are substantial and the “WOW” factor can make your visitors’ event experience that much better. If they enjoyed it, they will likely tell all their friends! Interesting “People Movers” are also easier to sell to prospective sponsors. If you get enough of them, you can either reduce or eliminate your expense!

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this “Go Green” article, there are plenty of “Green Ideas” out there. It is up to festival/event organizers and their communities to decide what is best for them. The biggest commitment of all is getting started! Good luck!

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Go Green (Part Three)

 Green Information Booths: Most visitors to a festival or event want to help our environment. The trouble is that many don’t know what they can do “to do their part”. Yes there are plenty of programs on television and articles in magazines and newspapers, but most don’t reach out to the average person. Having a “Green Information Booth” that has real examples of recycling and protecting our environment is one way to help inform people about “Going Green”. I have seen a number of environmental booths at the festivals we have visited. Another unique way is to have “Green Ambassadors”. Two years ago Judi and I visited the Peterborough Festival of Trees. As we exited the festival we were greeted by “Green Ambassadors” and given literature about the festivals “Green Program”! The Ambassadors encouraged us to develop a “Green Program” for ourselves. This was suggested in a fun and thoughtful way!

Compost Bins: Many venues and events are now composting as much of their waste as possible. I heard that Fanshawe Pioneer Village has plans to implement composting. I believe that they are going to work with local farmers to put the compost to good use. The Toronto Zoo has a wonderful “Green Plan”. One of their “Green Programs” includes the “rounding up” of “zoo poo” and converting it to energy.

Canvas Tote Bags: With plastic bags now being discouraged in most towns and cities, canvas tote bags have become a must. Many festivals and events are jumping on the “Tote Bag” bonanza by selling them to their visitors. Like the recyclable logo water bottles, the logo tote bags are a great way to raise extra money while promoting an event.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Go Green (Part Two)

 Throughout our travels to Ontario’s festivals and events, we have encountered some great “Green” ideas. Last week I spoke about the importance of Ontario festivals and events “Going Green”. This week and the next few weeks, I am going to share these ideas with you. (Please Note: the festival and event examples that I have mentioned are from my own experience. I know that there are many other festivals and events that offer the same or better “Green Solutions” I hope that they will contact me and let me know their ideas.)

Recycle Bins: I know that this is not a new or unique idea, but it is one of the first steps in “Going Green”. Unbelievably, there are still a number of events that do not recycle! Recycling is not the innovation, but how it’s done can be! Take Fanshawe Pioneer Village as an example, not only do they recycle, but they so it in a very unique way. Fanshawe is a heritage village and wants to depict the 1800’s as they were. So, having a bunch of blue recycle bins placed around their grounds would not help their authenticity! Instead, they have built a number of authentic looking structures that hold both garbage and recycling! The recycling is there and so is the heritage look! (See Photos)

Potable Water: More and more events are seeing plastic water bottles as a “waste”, both in the use of manufacturing energy and long term land fill. As a result, some festivals and events are bringing in large containers of potable water for their visitors. Although we haven’t visited the Hillside Folk Festival in Guelph yet, I understand that they have been doing this for a number of years. The Toronto Zoo has also brought in potable water.

Re-Usable Water Bottles: In conjunction with the potable water, both the Hillside Folk Festival and the Toronto Zoo are selling re-usable water bottles with their logos imprinted on them. They get two bonuses while helping preserve our planet, profit from the sale of the water bottles and advertising with the logo imprints.

Re-usable Plates and Cutlery: Some festivals are now only selling food on re-usable plates with re-usable cutlery. By doing this they are drastically reducing the amount of waste. The Shelter Valley Folk Festival does this and has been for a number of years. When their festival first began, they invested in plates, glasses and cutlery. Now all of their food vendors are required to us festivals plates and cutlery. Lang Pioneer Village at their Dine and Shine event offered a variation of this idea. They encouraged visitors to the event to bring their own plates and cutlery. All those that did had a chance to receive a great prize. This was a well received “Green Promotion”!

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Go Green (Part One)

 I’ve talked about it before, but I believe that “Going Green” is not only the right thing to do, but it is also the smart thing to do! Jana Campbell, owner of LunchWithoutWaste.com and a leader in “Going Green Products”, tells us in her recent “Practical Tips on how to have a Litter-less Lunch” article, pointed out the trend that “more and more people are becoming conscious about how their everyday habits impact the future of the Earth”. Taking this point a further, the majority of festivals and events in Ontario have little or no “Green” agenda! I’ve been told the Ontario communities host about 5,000 festivals and events each year! That’s a lot of festivals and events not “Going Green”! Think of the millions of people who visit these events and how they are “impacting the Earth”! Image if just 25% of these festivals and events decided to implement a “Go Green” plan! The impact would be enormous! So, who should take the first step, the organizers or the communities? While it would be wonderful to think that festival and event organizers would jump at the chance to “Go Green”, I think the initiative will have to be taken by the various communities themselves. Hopefully if a community does put a “Green” policy in place, they will do it intelligently. What I mean by that is that communities should work with festival and event organizers to develop a long term implementation plan. I don’t believe a “Green” policy should be forced upon festivals and events immediately. I believe that they should be implemented over a period of time. Perhaps the Ontario Ministry of Tourism or Festivals and Events Ontario (FEO) could take the lead in developing “Green Guidelines”. This would help municipalities and festival and event organizers develop their own “Green Policies”. It would be wonderful to see all Ontario festivals and events “Go Green”, but realistically, that is not going to happen. So, I think 25% would be a terrific start! I realize becoming “Green” will not happen overnight. There needs to be a “process”! There has to be a plan with short and long term goals and there has to be a commitment and then a start. So hopefully someone will hear my (our) plea and start the process. Our world is counting on it!

Next week I will outline some ideas to help Ontario festivals and events “Go Green”! I hope that you will join the dialogue and send me your ideas.

Thursday, July 1, 2021

Search Me... (Part Two)

 The point of my story is that Judi and I had just missed visiting one of the best events of the year, and it was in our own backyard! This year had been special because it was the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada! When I had looked earlier the previous month for festivals and event to visit that weekend, this event had not shown up on any of my usual festival and event sources! As a result, I am sorry to say, we missed it! Unfortunately, this happens all too often! Festivals and events are missed because they are not listed or easily found on the major festival and event source guides. This is one of the reasons we are creating our NEW Festival Finder search engine. We want to make sure that all festivals can be found. We know that this is a lofty idea, because it is going to take the co-operation of festival and event organizers. However, I do believe that it is possible to list the majority of Ontario’s festivals and events. Right now Judi has accumulated a list of over 1,000 festivals and events. There are reportedly over 5,000 in Ontario, so there is still a long way to go, but we are hoping through research and persistence and a little luck that we will find most of them by the end of the year. So once we have the search engine up and running (hopefully by mid-to-late August) we hope you will to go onto it and try to find your favourite festival or event. If you don’t, please let us know so that it can be added to our list of events.