Home International GreenFest in Aurora puts focus on helping the environment

GreenFest in Aurora puts focus on helping the environment

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Ryan Chrisman of Aurora and his granddaughter Gladys, 7, elected to come to GreenFest at the Prisco Community Center in Aurora Saturday to enjoy some animals but also learn about things that can help the environment.

“We’ve come to this event every year they’ve had it except when COVID was going on,” Chrisman said. “My granddaughter is hoping to see a sloth which we saw last year. She loves the experience of seeing all the booths and also playing here for a while in the park. We’re local and we like to patronize things here. It’s exciting to see this many people come together for an initiative like this.”

The 12th annual Aurora GreenFest at the Prisco Community Center and McCullough Park featured exhibits and vendors all aimed at showing ways to enhance sustainability as well as create a more energy-efficient, less wasteful lifestyle.

Exhibitors included solar panel and window companies, environmental groups, food producers and others making crafts from recycled materials.

Phillips Park Zoo was a new addition this year at the fest, which organizers said “was a way to appreciate the environment with animals.”

District 4 Kane County Board member Mavis Bates again helped organize Saturday’s event.

“We started this in 2010 and took a couple of years off because of COVID but otherwise we’ve been standing tall the whole time,” Bates said. “The goal of this from the beginning was to make people more environmentally conscious. We usually get about 1,000 people and honestly as I’m walking around in the grocery store people will ask, ‘Oh Mavis, are you doing the GreenFest again?’ They remember it and appreciate it.”

Bates said that “people in the Fox Valley have grown more environmentally conscious” and that the fest itself “has been a guiding light in sustainability of the environment and habitat preservation and stopping climate change.”

“People are more aware of the environment and protecting out native species. When you drive down the street and see more and more solar panels on houses, I think we can take some credit for people growing more environmentally aware,” she said of the fest.

Organizer of the annual GreenFest in Aurora Mavis Bates, who is also a Kane County Board member, enjoys a moment inside the Prisco Community Center with U.S. Rep. Bill Foster, D-Naperville, during GreenFest on Saturday. (David Sharos / For The Beacon-News)

Bates added there has always been a strong recycling message at GreenFest “including awareness and education.”

“I think we’ve done a lot. Our theme this year is ‘Electrify Your Life’ and one of the ways to stop climate change is to evolve and using more electricity in your house than gas,” she said.

At the fest, Martin Belovicz of Arlington Heights said that, as a member of the Fox Valley Vehicle Association, “I drive electric cars and it’s something that, after 250,000 miles, I don’t regret.”

“I like that there is an effort to get people more environmentally conscious. I think this is an ever-growing thing and people are seeing benefits,” he said.

More than 50 booths were set up inside the Prisco Community Center in Aurora on Saturday along with dozens more outside for the 12th annual GreenFest. (David Sharos / For The Beacon-News)
More than 50 booths were set up inside the Prisco Community Center in Aurora on Saturday along with dozens more outside for the 12th annual GreenFest. (David Sharos / For The Beacon-News)

Antonio Aguirre of Aurora likewise came to the event and said “it’s good to inform people about how to go green. That way they can stay energy efficient.”

“People can save energy for the planet. As far as green stuff I try to recycle and water less to save on that. One day, I’d love to own an electric car. I love electric stuff,” Aguirre said. “As far as the city of Aurora, I think they are trying to be more energy-conscious with all the roof projects and solar panels. I think that’s pretty good.”

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News.

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