July 14, 2009
Putting the 'eco' in Decorah at Aug 21-23 festival
Winneshiek County Convention and Visitors Bureau is kicking off a fun and educational new festival called "Dig IN: the Decorah Iowa Green INitiative" on Aug. 21-23. The WCCVB and partners established this first annual event to celebrate the Decorah area as a leader in green initiatives.
Dig IN, a weekend-long festival set in idyllic Northeast Iowa, will feature tours of off-the-grid homes and sustainable farms, live music at both a street dance and garden party, an expert-filled green expo, seminars and forums, and local foods.
On Aug. 22, traverse the regions rolling hills and picturesque bluffs to get a peek into off-the-grid homes and sustainable farms as the owners open their doors for tours. Learn about solar, wind, and geothermal energy, composting toilets and ultra efficient appliances. Get up-close looks at small wind turbines and visit farms that produce food without chemicals and with the environment and land in mind while also making a sustainable life for their families and tackling local and regional marketing level.
Luther College will welcome visitors to its campus to check out the electric vehicle fleet and learn more about its climate commitment. Luther has set a goal to reduce its carbon emissions by 50 percent in the next four years and is working on a plan to become a carbon neutral campus. The college is a local leader in bio diesel and hybrids, and has recently completed a LEED certified science laboratory and research center.
Dig IN attendees will have the opportunity to learn more on a one-and-one basis by visiting KDEC Radio's Green Expo on Sunday, Aug. 23. Regional experts will set up booths and be available to discuss efficient options for homes, gardens, cars and more. Seminars and forums will be running all day and there will be local food available.
Organic Valley is the major sponsor for the speaker forum. They will provide free samples and talk about a variety of sustainability issues.
Local food will also be on hand throughout the entire weekend at participating Dig IN restaurants, each highlighting the regions wares through special menus. Dig IN also encourages festival goers to visit Decorah's Oneota Community Food Co-op and local farmers market Saturday morning.
Friday night, Aug. 21, the areas famed Foot-Notes will play a rousing street dance complete with waltzes, schottisches, polkas, and more in their traditional Scandinavian style. This concert completely free will run from 8-10 pm and is open to anyone.
Saturday night features a garden party at local gardener and photographer David Cavagnaro's farm. Cavagnaro, whose photographs have graced the pages of national magazines such as Mother Jones, Martha Stewart, and National Geographic, is the founder of a new gardening program called the Pepperfield Project.
The Dig IN project is dedicated to helping individuals of all backgrounds improve their quality of life through classes that will teach how to develop a relationship with food, cooking, and gardening. Visit Cavagnaro's extensive vegetable and flower gardens in rural Decorah and enjoy the Balkan sounds of local band, Maritza.
Register online at digindecorah.com to get full access to a program guide, a map for home and farm tours, plus a chance to a prize package. Registration is $10 for adults and kids 18 and under are free.
The first 250 registrants will receive an insulated cooler filled with goodies from local producers and businesses.