JOHN DAY - SolWest Fair will offer fun and education for the whole family this weekend at the Grant County Fairgrounds. People come from across the Western states to see this event, which features informational displays and workshops about renewable energy geared towards ranchers, homeowners and small businesses.

Bill Bradbury's special live slide presentation on climate change will be featured in the Sale Barn during the free-entry period at 5 p.m. Friday.

SolWest fairgoers can see working systems including solar hot water and solar electric, home-scale wind generators and biodiesel processors, hydroelectric generators for small streams, and solar water pumps. Vendors will be selling everything from solar gadgets and books to full-scale renewable energy hardware.

Solar Assist from Eugene and Mr. Sun Solar of Portland will be explaining solar thermal technology at the solar showers. Flying F Biofuels of Tiffin, Iowa, will demonstrate how to make biodiesel.

Bob Yoesle of Goldendale, Wash., will help onlookers view the sun's surface safely through his solar-powered sun-viewing telescope.

These, along with over 50 other workshops, will offer information for do-it-yourselfers as well as those who want to be informed purchasers. Saturday is family day, and children's workshops offered include Story Time, Fun and games with Solar, and Pizza Box Solar Ovens. Childcare will be available.

The Tour de John Day Electrathon will happen at 11 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday, keeping to the pavilion parking lot on the first day. On Sunday the gates to the fairgrounds will be thrown open and the rally will take to the streets of John Day.

Viewers may bring lawn chairs and snacks and watch free from the sidewalks of Canyon, Second, and Boyce on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. A second heat will be run if entries warrant.

Other happenings on the fairgrounds over SolWest weekend include a silent auction on both Saturday and Sunday, prizes for student science projects on renewable energy topics, a fruit and vegetable stand by the John Day Valley Farmers Market.

A hosted tour of the Prairie Wood Co-gen plant will be offered on Friday afternoon.

Alternatively-fueled and high-gas mileage vehicles will be on display in the alley between Keerins Hall and the barns.

Free SolWest Fair entry will be offered from 5 p.m. to closing on Friday, and 1 p.m. to closing on Sunday. For detailed information, see the SolWest Fair program (available at the Blue Mountain Eagle office or at EORenew, 150 E Main St). For more info: 575-3633, (

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