Well, our name is Cool Davis, then early this year we won the California Coolest City award, so getting ‘cooler all the time’ seemed an apt slogan to describe Cool Davis fourth annual festival.

The five-hour-long event on Saturday October 12 certainly managed to live up to the slogan. Over 3000 people turned up for a festival that showcased not only every aspect of sustainable living, but combined it with great music, amazing bike contraptions, mouthwatering food demonstrations, and countless tips and inspiration for reducing our personal and our community’s carbon footprint.

Before dawn broke, Cool Davis volunteers were unpacking tables, wrestling with tents and lugging chairs and exhibits across Central Park. As the day warmed, people streamed into the park in ever-growing numbers to wander among the many booths featuring local businesses, non-profit advocacy groups, and children’s activities.

At the heart of the festival was a tent dedicated to ‘Cool Solutions’ where anyone could get advice and tips on easy ways to reduce their carbon emissions and save money, too.

Over 235 participants submitted checklists telling about what they are already doing and what they would like to do in the future to reduce their household greenhouse gas emissions. Chris Jones, a climate researcher for UC Berkeley and coordinator of Cool California, spun a giant wheel and dished out prizes of shoulder bags, succulents, posters and more for all those who participated.

Festival in numbers
• 3000 + attendees
• 72 exhibitors
• 74 Performers & Artists
• 329 Veggie bags distributed
• 235 new Cool Home entries
• 140 volunteers
• 6 hours of sunshine, fun and inspiration

Local businesses, REC Solar, Brower Mechanical,  Greiner Heating & Air, MAK Design + Build, Talbott Solar & Radiant Homes, Inc., Bay Area Home Solar Panels and Travis Federal Credit Union showed how local firms are providing solutions to climate change and helping residents make the shift to save energy.

Visitors could discuss questions with city departments easily, too, such as City of Davis Arts & Cultural Services, Davis Fire Department and Davis Police & Next Door program. Yolo Energy Watch members explained their projects Energy Upgrade California encouraged homeowners to consider taking advantage of remaining funds for home retrofits.

The festival had lots for children to do, including planting seeds.
The festival had lots for children to do, including planting seeds.

For those who wanted to get their hands dirty, the worm compost exhibit proved a constant draw especially for children wanting to hold a wiggly worm. A gardening workshop helped budding gardeners learn more about xeriscaping, water conserving irrigation, vermiculture, bugs and blooms, insects and pollinators, water-wise, California natives, and Arboretum All-star plants.

Moving from farm to fork, Cool Davis was very privileged to have two great cooking demonstrations by Chef Sal Gagliano from UC Davis who produced herb salad with pomegranate vinegar dressing, herb pickled banana peppers, and Chinese long beans sautéed with garlic and tomato and Copper Hill Olive oil with flair and panache.

Visitors learned how to unplug their kitchens to save time and electricity and still produce delicious dishes from Chef Debra Chase. Dan Flynn and Amina Harris, from UC Davis tested everyone’s palettes with tastings of local olive oils and honey.

Milton Kalish from the newly-formed Yolano Climate Action Group had a convoy of bikes with the message: ‘Stop Climate Chaos.’ Kalish was keen to make the point that all our local climate actions will need to be accompanied by effective action at state and federal level if we are to make a real difference and stop worsening climate change.

Kalish sounded the alarm that tar sands are soon expected to be shipped by rail through Davis. Volunteers at the Citizens Climate Lobby and the new Interfaith Coalition for Climate Justice echoed his call for people to mobilize to change policy.

Visitors could browse through the electric cars on display and talk with owners.
Visitors browsed through the electric cars on display and talked with owners and dealers.

At the far end of the park, over 10 cars were running engines yet not a sound was to be heard. The reason of course was that they were all electric. Aided by a mixture of car sale reps and local electric car-owner enthusiasts, the display was a perfect place for people to look at the ever-growing options of electric cars on the market and will no doubt assist some in making the plunge on their next purchase.

Third Street meanwhile was taken over by bikes and experienced probably the first ever game of bike polo, an exhilarating high-octane spectacle which included a few dramatic falls.

The city council race on Davis’ famed whymcyles (handmade, re-engineered bikes by Peter Wagner) ran at a fortunately slower pace, but saw Brett Lee emerge as city Whymcycle champion! Davis Bike Collective was at hand to help with on-the-spot bike repairs along with local bike shops and strong supporters of Cool Davis: Ken’s Bike and Ski and Apex cycles.

The whole festival was accompanied by a wonderful soundtrack of some of the best of Davis’ musicians and artists. Mm Mm Good, Sam Alfaro Native American Folk Music, No Bones About It! Jazz Ensemble, The Spokes and Fiesta Dance N’ Fitness all did enthralling sets. Perhaps one of the highlights though was when the funky, positive and upbeat music band, Tha Dirt Feelin joined forces in an impromptu synchronicity of beats and melody with the Bakuhatsu Taiko Drummers.

As the applause died down, Tha Dirt Feeling loaded up their double bass, guitars and drums on a bike trailer and headed off. A perfect embodiment that reducing your carbon footprint can lead to healthier and ‘cooler’ lives.


Thank you!!!

The festival involved a huge amount of work by a team of volunteers, particularly Chris Granger and Kerry Daane Loux who coordinated the festival for the second year in a row, and Festival Leads Christal Waters, Bike Circus: Lynne Nittler and Anya McCann, Demonstrations: Bill Heinicke, Cool Solutions Center; Kristin Heinemeyer, Cool Homes; Jenny Estramera, Entertainment; and Eugen Dunlap, EV Show and Tell.  Thanks to our sponsors who made the festival possible, in particular the City of Davis, REC Solar, Dos Coyotes and the Davis Farmers Market who helped host the festival and Unitrans that provided free public transit on the day. Thanks are also due to the Davis Enterprise, Unitarian Church of Davis, Yolo Federal Credit Union, Yolo Energy Watch, A Grand Affair , Blue Oak Energy , Davis Waste Removal , Davis Food Coop , SIEMENS , The Alive Network , Travis Credit Union, Lutheran Church of the Incarnation , and Carbahal & Co and the many volunteers who joined in.


Full list of exhibitors

It is impossible to capture the whole festival in one article. Here is the unbelievable list of Davis eco-heroes who made the festival what it was:

A: Advocacy, Non-Profits and Businesses
Aggie On-line Newspaper (roving reporter)
Aggie Reuse Store
Avid Reader
Citizens’ Climate Lobby
Cool Davis Sharing Economy
Davis Boy Scouts-Yolo District
Davis Dollars
Davis Enterprise (roving reporter)
Davis Flea Market/Third Space
Davis Media Access (roving videographer)
Davis Music Festival
Farmers Market Zero Waste Team (‘trash talkers’)
Interfaith Alliance for Climate Justice
International Festival and The Culture C.O.-O.P.
Spectrum Renewable Energy Engineering
Swann Electric Bicycles
UC Davis Extension Land Use & Natural Resources
UU Church of Davis Green Sanctuary
Yolano Climate Action
Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District

B: Bicycle Circus
Apex Bicycles
City of Davis RIDE WALK Davis
City of Davis Street Smarts
Davis Bicycles!
Davis Bike Collective Mobile Maintenance Unit
Davis Bike Polo
Ken’s Bike and Ski

C: Cool Solutions Center
‘Ask the Experts’:
California Lighting Technical Center
Davis Bicycles!
Davis Energy Group
How Many Pounds of CO2 Can You Lose?
Octus Energy
UC Davis Energy Efficiency Center
UC Davis Sustainability
Unitrans ASUCD/City of Davis
Valley Climate Action Center
Western Cooling and Efficiency Center
Cool Davis Programs:
Cool Homes
Kid’s Pledge
Litehouse Display
Sustainable Renter Info and Apartment Model
T-Shirt and Poster Sales
Veggie Bag Sewing Group

D: Demonstrations/Food and Nutrition
Solar Cookers International
UC Davis Foods for Health Institute
UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center
UC Davis Tercero Dining Commons
UC Davis Olive Center
UnCooked Creations and Pheasant Hollow Farm

E: Electric Vehicle Show and Tell
CALPIRG/UC Davis Million Clean Cars
Citrus Circuits FIRST Robotics Team 1678
Drive Clean California Air Resources Board
Greater Sacramento EV Auto Association
Hanlee’s Toyota, Nissan and Chevrolet: Chevy Volt and Spark
Home and Workplace Charging display with EVSEs (Electric Vehicle Supply Equip/EV
charging stations) and SMUD and Pacific Gas & Electric’s special EV rates
Niello: Fiat
Ron DuPratt Ford: C-Max Energi, Fusion Energi, and Focus Electric
The Solar Connection
VanHousen: Smart
Car Owners:
Ford Focus
Honda Fit
Karmann Ghia Custom-converted Electric Vehicle
Mitsubishi iMiEV
Nissan Leaf
Tesla S

F: Find Family Fun at the Festival!
Alex TREEbek and Cool Davis Jeopardy
Cool Davis Face Painting
Cool Davis One Cool City Coloring Contest
Da Vinci Robot
Damento Jugglers
Humungous Bubble Station
Make Your Own Eco-Hero Mask
Pedal-Powered Carousel
Take a Photo with La Gotita and Sapa Guapa

G: Garden, Composting, Irrigation
Central Park Gardens
City of Davis Integrated Pest Management and Composting
City of Davis Partners for a Greener Davis/Commercial Food Scrap Program
City of Davis Recycling, Stormwater and Wildlife
City of Davis Water Conservation
Davis Permaculture Guild
Parent to Parent Institute for Brain Development
Tree Davis
UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden
Yolo County Master Gardeners
Yolo Farm to Fork; RISE; Davis Farm to School

H: Home Energy, Solar, Retrofit/Design
Bay Area Home Solar Panels
Brower Mechanical, Inc. and ‘Retrofit Your Attic’ program
City of Davis Arts and Cultural Services
City of Davis Fire Department
City of Davis Police and Next Door program
Green Home Solutions and ‘Retrofit Your Attic’ program
Greiner Heating & Air, Inc.
MAK Design + Build, Inc.
REC Solar
Talbott Solar and Radiant Homes, Inc.
Travis Federal Credit Union
UC Davis ARTfriends
Yolo Energy Watch/ Energy Upgrade California