Ever since the BrightNights festival opened for the year on November 22nd in Hawrelak Park, I’ve been meaning to write about it. Not because I love it and am keen to promote it, but for quite the opposite reason actually. I attended back in 2006, and came away unimpressed. I’ve got two major issues with the event – it’s relatively expensive and it’s terrible for the environment. Or at least it was.
This year, the organizers went with a “green theme” to make the 2008 edition of the festival the most environmentally friendly ever (didn’t you know green is the new black!). I noticed a video on the Edmonton.ca site recently talking about the improvements and changes (unfortunately they don’t use permalinks so I can’t link to the video) and took some notes:
- BrightNights is operated as a not-for-profit.
- The drive-through lights display runs from November 21st until January 4th, and covers 2.5 km of road.
- Food Bank donations are encouraged, and any extra funds go to the hot lunch program.
- The goal this year is to be carbon neutral. They’ve purchased carbon credits to offset emissions from both the power used in the park and from vehicles driving through.
- All the lights are on timers this year, to avoid human error of forgetting to shut them off. Also, the hours of operation have been reduced from 6 per day to 5.
- Enmax has joined as a sponsor for three years, and is working to ensure energy consumption is powered by wind.
The website also mentions high-efficiency lighting and certified forestry managed paper for marketing materials. Additionally, BrightNights has teamed up with Climate Change Central to help educate Edmontonians about going green at home.
Apparently the cost has gone up from $15 per vehicle to $20, so the event hasn’t become any more affordable. I’m not sure what kinds of displays they have, but I suspect it is similar to previous years.
Even though I’m still not that excited about BrightNights, I am quite happy to see the changes they’ve made to become more environmentally friendly. The City of Edmonton hopes to have a number of events operating green within three years, and BrightNights is just the first. I hope more festivals and events in Edmonton follow suit.