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Wilton Go Green Festival Is a No-Go for 2012

WILTON, Conn. – Despite two years of success and “off the charts attendance” during the Wilton Go Green Festival in May, group leaders have decided to give the popular event a year off.

“Yes, the festivals drew more than 1,000 people each in 2010 and 2011 to more than 80 exhibitions, interactive exhibits, vendor booths and programs,” newly installed Go Green President Jana Bertkau told a gathering of about 40 members Wednesday night at the Cannon Grange.

“But the festival takes so much time and planning. And we would need four volunteers working 20 hours a week starting tomorrow to even have a chance to hold a festival this year,” said Bertkau, who took over as president Wednesday, succeeding co-founder Becky Bunnell.

The festival helped turn an ad-hoc Energy Commission panel into a permanent and expanding nonprofit environmental group.

After word leaked out that there might not be a festival this year, Bertkau said there had been an “overwhelming reaction from people who are disappointed.”

But she and Bunnell said the group raised enough money during the first two festivals to allow a year off to pursue other projects such as Phase 2 of Bring Your Own Bag, which encourages shoppers to bring their own reusable bags.

The group also plans to continue promoting the region’s 14-town Neighbor-to-Neighbor energy conservation program that seeks to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent in towns, including Wilton.

“There’s so much we can concentrate our energies on in 2012 with a year off from spending so much time planning the festival,” said Bunnell, who has joined the group’s Board of Directors. “Then in June we can start planning another Go Green Festival for 2013.”

Some advisory board members asked whether it would still be possible to hold the festival this May. “If so many people are expressing their disappointment, maybe we can still find a way to do it this year,” said new advisory board member Henryk Teraszkiewicz, director of the Woodcock Nature Center.

Wilton Go Green is a nonprofit group created in 2010 to engage the community of Wilton in sustainable initiatives, leaders said.

"I believed from the start there was a need for this group, and the tremendous community reaction has proven that," said Bunnell. "I am very proud of what we've been able to accomplish in such a short time, but there's a lot of work that still needs to be done."

For more information, go to www.WiltonGoGreen.org .

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