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Posted on Fri, Jun 8, 2012 : 10:13 p.m.

Green Fair in downtown Ann Arbor showcases environmentally conscious lifestyle

By Amy Biolchini


Cars were out and all things green were in on Friday night in downtown Ann Arbor as the 12th annual Mayor's Green Fair took over Main Street.

Jeffrey Smith |

For a Friday night in downtown Ann Arbor, the activity on Main Street was decibels below its usual bustle.

Instead of traffic choking the street, bikes, solar panels and natural areas took center stage.

People browsed displays of products, companies and non-profit organizations all dedicated to leading a more sustainable lifestyle.

Still, the 12th annual Mayor’s Green Fair, which stretched along Main Street from Huron to East William streets, wasn’t just tree huggers flocking to the streets.


Caden Wolff, 5, of Ann Arbor examines a display of bees on a table offering information about a Green Adventures Camp.

Jeffrey Smith |

Passers-by on their way to and from dinner stopped to ponder a greener way of living and learn about local opportunities to get involved in preserving and protecting natural areas.

The presentations sparked conversations — whether about recycling batteries or about the light bulb of the future, said to last for 20 years.

People hopped on different bicycles to try them out, from reclining models to Tom Bartlett’s signature conference bike, which seats 7 people.

Electric cars, from future models to relics of the past, were on display for people to interact with.

City and county transportation representatives were also present to survey people about how they commute to and from their jobs, and what they want to see Washtenaw County do in the future in terms of transportation options.

George Lambrides and his wife Cindy, both of Dexter, were in Ann Arbor for dinner Friday night and stopped by the Green Fair.

Neither would call themselves die-hard environmentalists, but the couple said their attitude toward the way they live has changed as they’ve grown older. The Lambrides’ home is heated using geothermal energy.

“I’m more concerned about my grandkids, 15 to 20 years from now,” George Lambrides said.

When it comes to buying electric cars or eliminating dependence on coal for energy, George Lambrides said at this point the impact may be negligible at an individual level, but he added that there’s no other way to go.

“The more people we have pulling on the oars, the greater chance there is for change,” George Lambrides said.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


martini man

Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 11:16 p.m.

Maybe the green folks can get the left wing Ann Arbor city council to ban all vehicles within the city limits, unless they are rickshaws, bicycles,hybrids ( running on battery power only ) or walk- ins. But the rickshaws will need union representation and guaranteed pension plans. What a wonderful world it will be . Peace Love, Dove y'all. Altho Main street between Packard and Huron would be nicer without all the traffic.

Madeleine Borthwick

Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 9:43 p.m.

To the mother on main st. w/the little girl wearing pink: I'm sorry if my request to photograph your daughter upset you. I assure you that my motive was only to record this adorable child in the frilly pink skirt for my personal collection. As a mother of 3 adult daughters, I completely understand that there are some really sick individuals in society from whom we need to protect our children, but I am not among them. I would not have taken this child's picture without your permission. I am NOT into kid porn. I do NOT post my pictures on the internet. I just love kids.Peace.


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 3:19 p.m.

If A2 really wanted to be Green, it would close off Main Street from traffic permanently from Huron south to Liberty and create a pedestrian mall. Why not? Oh, that's right, the merchants want to continue to congestion and exhaust fumes spewing from cars in the name of profits!! They are so afraid it would decrease business, when in fact it would make the whole area more appealing. Who wants to sit outside on the sidewalk and eat with cars belching fumes next to you?

martini man

Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 12:01 a.m.

I have no use for liberals or green party twits ..BUT I agree that closing off that area might be a good idea, since the pedestrian and regular vehicle traffic seem to create a gridlock.


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

JR, I work on Main Street and live a block away. Almost all of the businesses I know on Main would love to see Main Street closed off at least on the weekends, starting at say 6 pm like on 4th Street Live in Louisville. It would create more business not those of us greedy businesses with payroll to make and taxes to pay could reap all those profits. Fumes? Thank the city that re-opened Main St to heavy multi axle trucks because 5th is closed and 4th Ave can't handle the flow....not the businesses.


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 1:33 p.m.

Went to the Green Fair and feel that it is a good thing that the city is putting the fair on once a year. However, I wish that the DDA and the merchants of the Main Street Association actually took the lessons to heart and weren't just GreenWashing. On North Main, the east side of the street north of Huron has HUNDREDS of lights on 24/7 for years now. These are managed by either the city or the DDA, but despite being alerted many times, and of course having their executives drive past these lights that are always on hundreds of times, nothing has been done to take the simple step costing almost nothing, to correct the situation. Then we have businesses such as Jolly Pumpkin, Starbucks and Cafe Felix that leave exterior lighting on outside, also 24/7, that have been alerted that their exterior lights, which serve absolutely no purpose when it is light outside, but refuse to take any simple action to save unnecessary wasting of energy. This pollution is a kind of equivalent of littering, just obnoxious behavior. Sorry for the rant, but these businesses obviously don't really care about the environment if they insist on these selfish actions.


Tue, Jun 12, 2012 : 1:52 a.m.

Yes Ross, I agree that the best way to reduce energy usage are the simple, low or no cost conservation habits. Veracity, Using LED lights IS good, but having them on during daylight hours for years is NOT good, just purely wasteful. FYI, I do not believe that those lights are solar powered, but even if they were, it would be wasteful because otherwise that energy could be fed into the grid.


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 6:02 p.m.

I agree also but will acknowledge the city's effort to replace street lights with LEDs which use much less electricity and last much longer than the old tungsten light bulbs and CFLs. I do believe that solar panels are being used also to power the lights as well as daylight sensor devices.


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 3:16 p.m.

This is a very good point, Bobby. I have to agree that no one is truly serious about energy consumption reduction until we force ourselves to PAY ATTENTION to the little wasteful things that are being done everywhere, all the time. I was said hello to by members of the "U of M sustainability council" and had to turn away before I would have gotten furious and lambasted them for disgustingly wasteful energy practices in the midst of a greenwashing campaign to change our opinions. The entire campus is full of locked, empty, but LIT buildings. Thermostats are not reduced overnight. The big house is lit up with many megawatts of energy use for 365 days a year even though it's only used for 15-20 of them. Disgusting.

Mark Rabinsky

Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

It wouldn't be an post without someone complaining about parking/traffic. Say all you want to about the event's environmental impact but how else are we going to change behavior unless we go to where the people are. Green is mainstream now. Maybe you should have actually came to the event... you would have learned something.


Sun, Jun 10, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

@djm you say you can't wrap your head around electric cars...hmmm... If only there were some sort of community green fair you could have gone to and learned more about them.


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 3:45 p.m.

@Ross...look to a lot of my fellow baby boomers that were and are the most wasteful generation...unfortunately, but like I said believe it or not, there are those of us that have been mindful of the earth because of what it has given us, and repay it back and then there are the takers...a2 has its fair share of those as Dad is almost 90 and still uses old newspapers to wash his windows, as well as keep weeds down in his garden and retain moisture and that has been going on since I can remember. I could go on about the recycling on my uncles farm but most people would squirm at the thought of what was done with animal by products as well as unedible carcass parts...but it was all recycling. So I don't need the self righteous preaching when most of them are clueless. Electric cars...that is something I haven't been able to wrap my head around...even solar energy leaves a huge footprint...let alone delivered electrical service for charging the cars


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 3:12 p.m.

C'mon, DJM. Mark meant "we" as in ALL of us. Reducing our energy use and consumption is going to be something we ALL need to pay attention to and buy into. I attended the fair last night and spoke to many people and learned a lot about land conservation, battery energy storage, and electric transportation. Pretty cool event, ncie people, good atmosphere. No one was preaching about how not to live. Just showing a more sustainable way forward.


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

We? You mean those that are so much smarter than the rest of us? Sorry, I live downtown and this is nothing more than the "oh so much better than the rest of us group" with a political agenda. I grew up in a farming family that was recycling long before it was the "in" thing...what I don't need is a group of people telling me how to live...I already knew that...years ago and I'm a independent thinker, not a sheeple like the many minions in this town.


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 3:47 a.m.

...the parking and walking was amazing! Many ppl I talked to had to walk all the way from the top of the Main and Willams parking structure just to get there!


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 12:13 p.m.

Nothing says "green" like a full parking structure! Not to mention the large number of cars downtown idling because of the traffic snags caused by the "fair". Take it to the fairgrounds next time, eh?


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 11:48 a.m.

Please tell me they were black socks. Wouldn't want to see a green fair fashion faux pas!


Sat, Jun 9, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

Absolutely Mango, many wore socks under their Birkenstocks (those straps can hurt) and brought granola for needed nourishment on the trek.