by Nicholas Chambers & Erin Lakai
The San Luis Valley is one of Colorado’s leading communities in renewable energy and local food production. We are home to commercial-scale solar farms, abundant off-grid residences and businesses, emerging biomass projects, vibrant local food systems, leading-edge solar design, and ubiquitous solar hot water installations. In fact, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Colorado is fifth in the nation in its solar resource and the San Luis Valley is none other than number one in Colorado. The Valley is on the map and the conversation has begun! This August 28-30, Crestone will be hosting the 20th Annual San Luis Valley Energy Fair as we “Harvest the New Energy Economy.” Head to the Crestone Town Park for a fun and educational weekend! Friday kicks off the weekend with a Sustainability Flea Market where folks who know the technical aspects of off-grid living and homesteading will be swapping and selling devices, parts, and materials for your next project. Rare finds, unbelievable prices, and bits of advice will be there for the hobbyist and professional alike. For more information or to get a booth space for this market call Jason Anderson at 256-4040. Also on Friday, the straw bale stage will be erected and the fair will host a community potluck/BBQ at 6pm, sponsored by Curt’s Olde Country Store. Saturday and Sunday we are bringing top-notch presenters and demonstrators to stimulate dialogue and inspire visions of how the future of energy and sustainability is developing. This year, Scott Pittman from the Permaculture Institute near Santa Fe will be presenting techniques for “Surviving and Thriving in all Economies,” a presentation of proverbial stories, paramount principles, and one definitely not to miss. Alponz Viszolay, also from Santa Fe, will be coming with a biofuel-producing living algae machine and will be presenting with a crew of kids that are part of LG International. Alponz has a far-reaching and passionate perspective about working with youth to achieve a sustainable future. Agua Das will be coming again this year with a woodchip gasifier generator and will share the science and techniques for biomass-based carbon sequestration and energy production. See the full schedule elsewhere for all the other presentations and demonstrations. After presentations on Saturday, we are taking a break to promote a dinner at our local restaurants: Caddyshack Pizza and the Desert Sage. Then, back to the Town Park to DANCE! Judge Roughneck’s great reagge/ska beats are sure to please. Together with wholesome food, live music, kids activities, and vendors in renewable living trades as well as arts and crafts, this family weekend will be one not to miss. Sunday afternoon the Energy Fair hosts the nationally-acclaimed Home Tour of the Northern Valley/Crestone area where residents open their high-performance and/or alternatively built homes to tour registrants. One tour ends at the Valley View Hot Springs, in which after touring their hydro-electric plant, you can soak in their healing waters! Please call the Hot Springs (719-256-4315) for soaking/lodging reservations. The SLV Energy Fair delivers great entertainment, education and environment; please give $5 per person at the gate, kids (under 12) and seniors free $10 Advance Sales for Judge Roughneck (at Saturday Market, Crestone Music Festival or Friday and Saturday before the show) Tickets are $12 at the Gate the night of the Concert. Head to www.slvenergyfair.com for more information, and to buy Home Tour tickets!