Renewing RE-fest

Published 10:45 am Thursday, September 8, 2011

Leighsa Peterson looks over a selection of bags at the Crazy Busy booth last year during RE-fest, held at Riverland Community College. Artist and crafter Stena Lieb was featuring recycled hand bags. - Eric Johnson/

Austin groups are looking to make going green easy as 1-2-3 this weekend.

RE-fest is returning Saturday for the fourth time to help people minimize their footprint on the earth.

“Its really about trying to live and find ways to cut our energy costs and our energy use,” said Jay C. Hormel Nature Center Director Larry Dolphin, who is one of the RE-fest organizers.

Email newsletter signup

Activities will start around 11 a.m. Saturday on the grounds of Riverland Community College, with speakers, workshops, vendors, entertainment, games and more all geared toward helping families reduce their energy use and live more sustainably.

“The most important thing about it is people have to understand there are approximately 7 billion people on this earth,” Dolphin said. “We all need to find ways to live more lightly on the planet.”

Dolphin said the U.S. uses up about 25 percent of the world’s energy, though it only takes about 4 to 5 percent of the world’s population.

“We have a much greater impact,” he said.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., there will be a solar carnival with inflatables and other games powered by a solar semi. There will also be puppet shows for children at 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Dolphin said there will be a small geocaching course outside the college, and one person will receive a $90 piece of geocaching equipment.

The Nature Center will have canoes at a pond behind the college from noon to 4 p.m.

From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., eco-friendly cars like a Toyota Prius will be on display, along with Segways.

The keynote speakers will be Mike Link and Kate Crowley, who walked around Lake Superior and will talk about water quality.

Other speakers will host workshops throughout the day on sustainability and green practices.

Dolphin said more than a thousand people typically attend RE-fest, though they’re hoping for more foot traffic this year.

“Re-fest is really to motivate people to rethink renew and restore as much as we can,” Dolphin said.

For a full schedule of the seminars, go to

Along with the Friends of the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center, RE-fest is hosted by Austin Utilities, Riverland Community College, Austin Parks, Recreation and Forestry.