Here is my report from Chicago’s Green Festival complete with a video live from the show floor. In keeping with the spirit of the activity I did take public transportation to the event and had a much better experience than I had a few posts ago. I took the CTA Western bus to Brown Line, transferred at Belmont for Red Line to Grand then I was able to jump the free trolley the final distance to Navy Pier. About one hour total but racked up massive carbon credits for the effort.
This is my third Green Festival in the last four years and I can safely say it has not evolved much. It is still a kind of hippie-like be-in. Combination boutique mall, flea market, food court with a smattering of trade show like activity. The event lacks focus and cohesiveness which is immediately evidenced by the layout that seemed to have only a general plan which causes you to sort of meander rather than follow any kind of route through the exhibits. But it is not so large that you cannot meander around three or four times before deciding you’ve probably seen it all.
I think I am used to attending trade show exhibits at which there is more investment and hope for higher gain. This is very grass roots and the plan of most of the exhibitors seems focused on selling today rather than gathering the oh so important contact info which can be used to build a long term relationship. Since this is a consumer oriented event it might actually fare better as an outdoor street fair with a few bands. On arrival there was what seemed to be a rather long line to get in, but it actually moved fairly swiftly. Since most people had free passes obtained from one of the many promoters, the purpose of the registration was mostly to try and capture an email or snail mail address for future follow–up. Distressingly this task was accomplished by having people fill out little slips of paper which will have to be subsequently decoded and input into a database. Now since I have extensive meeting management background I would seriously suggest that this could have been more efficiently achieved with maybe two or three dozen laptops requiring people to key in their info themselves, or better yet suggesting that people do this prior to arrival then simply confirm their ID with a confirmation number or by finding their name. This would have reduced the thousands of little slips of paper and many of the thousands of free coupons that were printed off. Lastly to confirm your attendance everyone was given an equally un-eco-friendly one-use Tyvek wristband for admission. Why not a soy ink hand-stamp?
Well I set out to meet some new people as part of my challenge to meet 100 New people in 50 days and did okay. I had several casual interactions and a few meaningful interactions who qualify as New people I have met, because I spent a few minutes speaking with them and there was enough of a connection to warrant further interaction. The qualifiers include eco-friendly artist Justin Kovac www.justinkovac.com ; author of the The Vegan Monologues, Ben Shaberman www.theveganmonologues.com ; Dan from www.afreshsqueeze.com promoting simple local green businesses; Tom Tresser the Green Party Candidate for President of the Cook County Board www.tom2010.us ; Tom Hupp of Book Publishing Company www.bookpubco.com featuring healthy and sustainable living books. So that brings me to day 27 of my challenge with 47 new people met. The others I encountered at Green Festival but whom I do not count as new people met are author Thom Hartman; Martin from Chicagoland Construction and Property Services ; Shannon from www.pivotalchicago.com ; a nice woman from Yoga Chicago and a woman from a la card discount dining deck who preferred not to have a video shout out. Those who were willing to play the game can be seen here at my Chicago Green Fest v-log or video blog report live from the show floor. Enjoy this short video production and remember as Kermit taught us, “It’s not easy being green.” At the very least reduce, reuse and recycle. All of the attendees here as well as my gentle readers are invited to network with us live the last Tuesday of every month in Chicago. Go to www.meetup.com/businesscardtobusiness/ for details