What: Third annual Cool Davis Festival
When: 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Central Park, Third and C streets
By Kerry Daane Loux and Chris Granger
Get on the bandwagon, get green and have fun!
All are welcome to join their neighbors and friends at the Cool Davis Festival from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Central Park, Fourth and C streets. The festival will be filled with information, entertainment and family activities to help set goals and get ideas for reducing household greenhouse gas emissions below the Davis average of 40.8 metric tons per year.
This is why Cool Davis was formed in 2010, following adoption of the city’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.
“When the City Council set our community on the path to carbon neutrality, the vision was to get every household, business and community organization working to go as low-carbon as we can and then, together, to build renewable sources of energy into our collective footprint,” says Judy Moores, Cool Davis Foundation board president.
So how will Davis become One Cool City?
“It starts with commitment,” says Lynne Nittler, a founding member of the Cool Davis Initiative. “Not only the city of Davis, but the university, the Davis Joint Unified School District and Yolo County all have climate action plans. Over 50 community organizations and businesses are Cool Davis partners working on their own carbon footprint reduction and helping to engage the community in taking action. More than 300 Davis households are participating in the challenge for Coolest California City. We invite more to join.”
To exemplify our community’s commitment, Cool Davis is challenging everyone to make Saturday a car-free day in Davis. To make the journey easier, Unitrans will offer free bus rides all day.
“We hope that each person at the festival will celebrate what they have already accomplished, learn something new and go home with a renewed commitment to greenhouse gas reduction, armed with practical ideas for action in the coming year,” says Kendell Essex, a Cool Challenges Support Team member.
The Cool Davis Festival will start off with a bang, and a drum roll. The Bakuhatsu Taiko Dan performers will get the crowd ready for activism at 8:45 a.m. The opening ceremony will feature Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor as the master of ceremonies, with Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza, members of the Davis City Council and poet laureate Eve West Bessier.
“We’ll have three stages for entertainment at the festival in addition to roving performers, extra-big bubble making and other fun activities,” says Betsy Raymond, entertainment coordinator. “Special free performances include the new all-Davis group Organic Improv, slam poetry by The SickSpits, Sufi/Middle Eastern musician Mehdi Moghaddam reading Rumi with musical accompaniment, Fiesta Dance n’ Fitness and Ecokinesis Dance Company.”
Music will include the local soul band, Tha Dirt Feeling, folk-rock/pop band Brother Jimmie and the New Deal, Davis Mariachi Band, Davis Threshold Choir and the César Chávez Elementary School Choir.
A special performance of “The Search for King Carbon” by Nature’s Theater will begin at 11 a.m. Children’s activities, face painting, planting and potting activities from Davis Farm to School will take place all day. The performance finale will be an hourlong performance by the Cal Aggie Marching Band-uh from 1 to 2 p.m.
Exhibits and advocacy
The festival will have exhibitors in areas related to the built environment (home energy, water conservation, etc.), transportation and consumption (food, health/nutrition, shopping and other lifestyle choices) as well as representatives of local advocacy groups that make a difference.
The Cool Solutions Center in the big tent on the green will have checklists for individuals to gauge current accomplishments and plan next steps toward carbon neutrality. Attendees should bring questions for local experts on home energy, water conservation, transportation and reducing waste. Garden experts will answer questions about irrigation, planting, composting and mulch.
Food and household product demonstrations will provide both the how-to and tastes of recipes using fresh produce from the Davis Farmers Market.
Third Street will be closed for the festival, featuring an array of transportation options and activities to enjoy. Davis Bicycles! is creating a bike circus with a safety course and two-wheeled activities for everyone. Elementary school students are invited to “race” and ride with bigwigs. School board members and candidates will participate at 10 a.m., followed by City Council members at 11 a.m.
Service bicycles as well as wild and wacky bikes will be on display in the bike racks next to Third Street. The U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame is a festival sponsor, and will offer free entrance for the day, so this is an opportunity to visit this national attraction in Davis.
The Plug-in Electric Vehicle Show & Tell will feature Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, plug-in vehicles from Ford and many others, with their local owners answering questions about electric cars. Eugen Dunlap, coordinator of the Show & Tell, says, “I hope to entice owners of the exciting, newly released Tesla models to the festival as well.”
There will be many opportunities to win prizes at the festival. Playing the Carbon Footprint game and completing household checklists earns tickets at the Cool Davis booth.
Get tickets by signing up for the Cool California Challenge. Current participants and new households can choose a free gift: a light bulb, cactus plant, water bottle or tire gauge.
Health and fitness are an important part of our community’s goals. AYSO is challenging all of its players and parents to come to the festival, car-free if possible. Those wearing soccer uniforms (or other local teams with games Saturday) can earn another free drawing ticket.
All tickets can be used to select favorite prizes in the Cool Davis drawing. Among the offerings from sponsors are a free energy audit (Brower Mechanical), a carbon backwash filter for great-tasting water (Plumbing MD), 10 Zipcar annual memberships, hand-sewn reusable shopping bags and veggie bags, and various Arboretum All-Star plants.
Make a difference
In face of daunting news about climate crisis, it is hard not to feel that individual efforts might be inconsequential. However, rather than just being a drop in the proverbial bucket, think of how each bike trip rather than car trip, each cloth veggie bag instead of plastic, each insulated window makes a difference.
Most Davisites recognize that society has developed a heavily carbon-enhanced lifestyle, so each step toward carbon neutrality comes with effort.
“None of us can do this alone, but together we can do a lot,” festival organizers say. “Just look at our children’s accomplishments in Davis School District’s RISE (Recycling is Simply Elementary) program. By recycling, reducing and reusing, several schools are approaching zero landfill goals and saving a bundle of money, too
“Many individual and community examples show we can make important, substantive and lasting contributions to offset climate change.”
— Kerry Daane Loux and Chris Granger are co-chairs of the Cool Davis Festival.