Fossil beds, not fossil fuels!
Organizing from a donated storage closet with a dial-up internet connection, EORenew grew the SolWest Fair into what is now a 3-day event in John Day attended by nearly 2,000 participants from across Eastern Oregon and the West.
The SolWest Fair in John Day, Oregon
By Bobby Hayden
John Day, Oregon and its surroundings have a lot to offer. From fascinating heritage sites like Kam Wah Chung to the (almost) secret Strawberry Mountain Wilderness, the area is full of gems. Thanks to successive giant waves of volcanic activity, the region is home to some of the most important – and beautiful – paleontological findings in the world.
Over the last 15 years, renewable energy pioneers have been adding to John Day’s rich tradition:
Painted Hills unit of the John Day Fossil Beds – courtesy of jennybirdsiler
In 1998, Jennifer Barker, Dina Bush, Ken Primrose, and Neal Coleman founded EORenew (The Eastern Oregon Renewable Energies Nonprofit, Inc.) and the first SolWest Fair. Organizing from a donated storage closet with a dial-up internet connection, EORenew grew the SolWest Fair into what is now a 3-day event in John Day attended by nearly 2,000 participants from across Eastern Oregon and the West.
If you are within range and don’t yet have plans for this weekend, consider SolWestwith 50 unique workshops and dozens of exhibitors. Their workshops cover a lot of ground, from the basics of going solar, to tax credits, loans and financial incentives for consumers going green, introductions to distributed energy, deep energy retrofits, emergency resilience, bicycle maintenance and fitting, and being fire-wise in the West. Workshops for kids too! Saturday afternoon will feature their keynote, Paul Scheckel, author of The Homeowner's Energy Handbook (Your Guide to Getting off the Grid), and The Home Energy Diet.
This year’s festivities also include a changing of the guard: EORenew will be handing over the reins of SolWest to Oregon Rural Action, a nonprofit community organization working to promote social justice, agricultural and economic sustainability, and stewardship of the region’s land, air and water. “We’re all proud of our accomplishments at SolWest over the years and we’re excited to see where Oregon Rural Action takes it,” Jennifer Barker said. “I’m already planning on being a presenter next year!”
Friday 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Adults: $5 daily or $10 for the 3-day weekend
Juniors: $2 daily or $4 for the 3-day weekend
Family: $10 daily or $20 for the 3-day weekend
Free entry after 5pm Friday and 12-3:30pm on Sunday.
For more information, check out the SolWest Fair
Hope to see you there!