SolWest offers power to the people this weekend

<I>Eagle file photo</I><BR>Kids baked their own snacks using pizza-box ovens at last year's SolWest Fair. The popular event is set to return this year.

JOHN DAY - People can explore their energy options in an array of workshops at this weekend's SolWest Fair at the Grant County Fairgrounds.

SolWest runs Friday through Sunday, July 24-26. Fair hours are 1 to 7 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Daily admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children ages 12-17, and a family rate of $10. Children under 12 get in free.

The keynote speaker will be the author of a book on the growing bicycle culture. Jeff Mapes, a reporter for The Oregonian, is the author of "Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities." He will speak at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

He will discuss how the bike culture is changing the look and feel of cities, suburbs, and small towns across North America. From traffic-dodging bike messengers to tattooed teenagers on battered bikes, from riders in Spandex to well-dressed executives, ordinary citizens are becoming transportation revolutionaries.

Organizers expect this year's event again to draw an array of hands-on and interactive displays. Solar hot water, wind and solar electricity will again be produced by working systems on the fairgrounds.

Saturday is family day at SolWest, and the presenters are planning exciting activities for children of all ages. The popular pizza-box solar ovens are on the agenda, along with story time and other activities.

SolWest will feature 50 workshops for young, old, technically-knowledgeable and renewable newbies. Workshops will cover the hardware, skills, and philosophy of sustainable living.

Topics include "Living off the Grid Without a Generator," wind turbines, passive houses, "Calculating your Carbon Footprint," water treatment options and more. SolWest schedules are available at the fairgrounds during SolWest and at the Blue Mountain Eagle office.

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