Two-day EcoArts Festival returns to Manayunk this weekend

The Manayunk section of Philadelphia will celebrate sustainability this weekend during the second annual Manayunk EcoArts Festival.

Eco-conscious experts, businesses, nonprofits and artists will set up shop along Main Street – from Levering Street to Pensdale Avenue – to teach about and showcase the city’s ever-growing green movement.

“It’s about getting people to take that extra step and showing them that it’s really easy to be green,” said Martha Vidauri, special events coordinator for the Manayunk Development Corporation, the festival’s lead organizer.

On tap to educate will be more than 130 local vendors and a new series of eco-minded lecturers including Siobhan O’ Connor, a co-author of No More Dirty Looks: The Truth About Your Beauty Products and the Ultimate Guide to Safe and Clean Cosmetics and Jason Ingle, executive director of Greener Partners, a local company that helps operate community farms.

Festival goers will also have a chance to check out the latest in sustainable car technology during an Eco Car Show, another new event this year. The show will feature models from Chevy, Hyundai, Volkswagen and Ford, among others.

First-time features also include a small farmer’s market that will sell produce grown locally through the Teens 4 Good program at Manayunk’s North Light Community Center and a free clothing swap.

The event will addtionally offer activities for children and a host of food vendors.

On Saturday, festival organizers will hand out the event’s Eco Champion Award. That honor, according to Vidauri, recognizes individuals who create awareness about green projects and advocate eco-friendliness.

This year’s recipients are Clarina Tolson, who heads the city’s Streets Department, and Joshua Fox, the documentary filmmaker behind Gasland, a controversial movie about the nation’s natural gas drilling industry.

“[Fox is] really making a difference on how we see our environment,” said Vidauri. “There might be gas in our water and that’s a huge revelation.”

A free screening of the Academy-Award nominated film on Friday will be the festival’s first official event.

Vidauri said she hopes the entire weekend will help show participants that Manayunk truly cares about sustainability. She said the Northwest neighborhood is already quite green.

“A lot of our businesses are making the effort to incorporate greener and fresher food into their menus. And we’re recycling more. Most of our stuff in this district gets recycled instead of being thrown into the garbage,” said Vidauri.

Referencing Mayor Michael Nutter’s initiatives to make Philadelphia the greenest city in the country, Vidauri said, “Manayunk wants to be the greenest district in the greenest city in the United States,” she added.

The event runs on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

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