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Three Area Festivals Greening Up Attractions
By Oklahoma Tourism Staff
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lindsay Vidrine
Three Area Festivals Greening Up Attractions
Norman, Oklahoma City Hosting ECO-certified Events This Week
With the Oklahoma City Festival of the Arts, Norman Music Festival (NMF) and the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon all scheduled for the same week, Oklahoma City residents have plenty of options for entertainment the last week in April. Since all three of those festivals are committed to sustainability through Encouraging Conservation in Oklahoma (ECO), the state’s premiere sustainable travel program, participants can also enjoy earth-friendly activities that leave a lighter footprint.
The Memorial Marathon received a platinum certification for its efforts, and the Festival of the Arts and NMF are in the process of being ECO certified. All three events strived to make their 2011 events the greenest ones yet.
“We are proud that these Oklahoma events are representing the state at its best by preserving our natural resources while showcasing our local communities,” Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department Executive Director Deby Snodgrass said.
The Festival of the Arts, a hallmark of the spring season in Oklahoma City for 44 years, established a sustainability committee to implement new measures to the established festival. This year, the Go Green Team implemented recycling bins for water bottles and beverage cups, as well as bike racks to encourage sustainable transportation. Food will be provided by local vendors and restaurants, and each purchase will directly benefit an area organization.
“The Arts Festival attracts people from all over Oklahoma and from outside of our State,” Go Green Team Chair Cheryl Vaught said. “It is important that we represent Oklahoma City in the best, most responsible manner. This means that our practices utilized before, during, and after Arts Festival should be exemplary and respectful of our natural resources, our planet and the Oklahoma City community that we live in.”
Now in its fourth year, the Norman Music Festival (NMF) takes place in the historic downtown blocks of Main Street. The NMF Green Committee is a new addition to the music festival that is growing in popularity.
“NMF attendance has skyrocketed and we realized that the most meaningful way to grow the festival, for the people of Norman, was to do it sustainably,” NMF Green Committee Chair Claire Malone said. “Not only does it feel good, but it also makes smart business sense to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible to keep costs down.”
The festival will include 165 recycling bins spread throughout the venues. Malone also said she wants to encourage people to use alternative transportation and to eat local foods since small changes can add up to make a big impact.
The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, which has worked with the Department of Environmental Quality on sustainable activities in the past, received its ECO platinum certification in 2010. This year, the marathon will compost its food waste and donate some foods to local homeless shelters for the first time.
“Our sustainability efforts are a key to aligning the mission and philosophies of the Memorial, the Marathon and our participants,” Marathon Sponsorship Chairman Stacey Weddington said.
Since 2009, the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department and Department of Environmental Quality’s ECO Certification program has promoted, developed and encouraged sustainable tourism throughout the state. ECO Certification requires applicants to meet set criteria and be reviewed by a national certification board. A certification level of silver, gold or platinum can be awarded, based on the level of sustainable practices the applicant chooses to implement.
The Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department (OTRD) is working to advance the exceptional quality of life in Oklahoma by preserving, maintaining, and promoting our natural assets and cultural richness. The department is the steward of the state park system and also promotes Oklahoma as a travel destination through many award-winning programs. To learn more about Oklahoma Tourism visit www.TravelOK.com or follow us at www.Facebook.com/TravelOK or www.Twitter.com/OklahomaTourism.
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