The Green Detroit Festival, a fair that will make its first appearance in downtown Detroit this weekend, hopes to bring small business entrepreneurs and eco-enthusiasts together under one tent.
The event runs Friday and Saturday, with an ambitious set of goals, including to promote sustainable lifestyles in the city, to showcase local green businesses, to educate construction professionals about green building techniques and to support local businesses.
The fair was organized by Bliss Cureton, a local entrepreneur who runs the Greenbliss Group, a collection of companies that sell environmentally safe cleaning products and offer eco-friendly home design services. She also received help (and space) from the Horatio Williams Foundation.
This may be the first year for the festival, but Cureton is no novice at environmental event-planning; she sponsored Earth Day events in Detroit the last two years. She told The Huffington Post she became interested in environmentalism after hearing about global warming at a party in 2007.
"I had little idea about what it was about," she explained. So she began to investigate, doing her own research and learning even more about green practices after spending some time at eco-friendly home supply stores in Los Angeles. In time, Cureton developed a passion for home-related environmentalism, launching the Greenbliss website in 2010.
The Green Detroit Festival will leave few green stones unturned, with sections on organic foods, holistic healing, pollution prevention, energy saving resources gardening, home remodeling, wealth management, Michigan products and Detroit businesses. It will also feature speakers and demonstrations, a green job fair, a car show and resources for businesses and homeowners. About 25 vendors and several food trucks will participate in the fair's green marketplace.
Cureton said she realizes sustainability may not currently be a top priority for many in the city, but hopes the hands-on nature of the Green Detroit Festival will provide a friendly atmosphere for Detroit residents to begin to learn more about environmentally-safe products and practices.
"I'm still one of those old school people who think you still have to touch it, feel it, to get it," she said. "No one's going to change overnight. You take baby steps and you gradually get there."
The Green Detroit Festival takes place at 1010 Antietam in Downtown Detroit on May 18 and 19. Friday's events last from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will include free asthma screenings. Saturday's events run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will include a pet adoption section. For more information visit greendetroitfest.com