It’s usually April, around Earth Day, when our attention is drawn to fairs and events that highlight environmental issues. But the late-summer “National Drive Electric Week,” first designated in 2011 and running from September 8 to the 16th this year, has inspired the New Paltz Climate Action Coalition and New Paltz Climate Smart to organize the first-ever Zero Emissions Parade and Green Vendor Fair in New Paltz on Saturday, September 15 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The aim of organizers is to make the event an annual happening, bringing the community together to keep the issue of renewable energy at the forefront. The Zero Emissions Parade — which is already going by the catchy acronym of ZEP — will involve a parade of pedestrians and people propelling any form of transportation down Main Street that doesn’t burn fossil fuels; expect to see bicycles, electric vehicles (including tractors and lawnmowers), roller-skaters and e-bikes, all accompanied by the lively activist marching brass band, Tin Horn Uprising. The parade kicks off from the New Paltz Middle School parking lot at 11 a.m.
The ZEP will be followed by the Green Vendor Fair from noon to 3 p.m. at New Paltz Village Hall on Plattekill Avenue, where attendees can talk to electric vehicle owners and test-drive an electric car or ride in one. Guest speakers will include Ulster County Executive Mike Hein (at 1 p.m.), Ulster County Legislator Kathy Nolan and the senior research director for Catskill Mountainkeeper.
Green vendors offering the latest information on renewable energy resources will include Rycor HVAC and Solarize Esopus. Healey Chevrolet and Romeo Chevrolet, which sell electric cars, will be on hand to answer questions and there will be a children’s bicycle-decorating contest with prizes sponsored by Bicycle Depot.
Organizers say the parade and fair are meant to encourage forms of transportation that don’t emit greenhouse gases, with the climate change caused by those emissions generating ever-increasing catastrophic impacts around the planet.
National Drive Electric Week is intended to heighten awareness of the widespread availability of plug-in vehicles and highlight the benefits of all-electric and plug-in hybrid-electric cars, trucks and motorcycles. Those who drive all-electric say the vehicles are less expensive and more convenient to fuel than gasoline vehicles, are better for the environment, promote local jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and are fun to drive.
The New Paltz Climate Action Coalition is a group of individuals and organizations dedicated to addressing the causes and consequences of climate change. For more information, contact them at www.newpaltzclimateaction.org. New Paltz Climate Smart is part of a network of New York communities working on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving climate resiliency. Contact them at https://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/56876.html/56876.html.
As of press time, National Drive Electric Week 2018 is sponsoring 255 events across the U.S. and in other countries. Local events, in addition to the ZEP and Green Vendor Fair in New Paltz, include a display of plug-ins and hybrids at the Ulster County Courthouse parking lot in Kingston on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and a ribbon-cutting at Majestic Park in Gardiner on Saturday, September 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the new electric vehicle charging station opening there.
For information on how to get involved in the Zero Emissions Parade and Green Vendor Fair in New Paltz, contact Samrat at (845) 419-3786. For more information about National Drive Electric Week, visit https://driveelectricweek.org/.