The Cool Davis Festival’s success depends on its volunteers. Jennifer Grace Gordon interviews this year’s leadership team on their plans and visions for this fifth annual celebration that combines food and fun, green living with cost-saving

The Cool Davis Festival is a celebration that merges great entertainment, exhibits and activities with fresh ideas for living clean and green for the mainstream. The event will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, alongside the Davis Farmers Market in Central Park.

The Cool Davis Festival isn’t just about reducing our individual and collective carbon footprints. It’s about healthier living with more freedom, less waste and a deep appreciation of the resources we have right here, right now.

Designed for the mainstream, the festival will offer Davisites golden opportunities to integrate easy, pragmatic ideas for sustainable living into their everyday lives. In other words, to use less to appreciate and enjoy life more. And vice versa.

All of the festival planning and execution is provided by volunteers. The leadership team comprises Davis citizens who are highly involved in our community and in the environmental sciences, education or entrepreneurship.

* John Walter, co-founder of RepowerYolo, a community initiative that provides solar energy systems to Yolo County homeowners at great savings, refers to himself as “the not-so-grand poobah” of the Cool Davis Festival. Walter, who sees his primary job as getting the right people into the right positions, said, “We’ve got a great group of people, a good mission, a worthwhile event and a fresh group in leadership.

“I’m looking forward to people discovering what they can do to improve the efficiency of their homes and apartments,” he added. “It’s all about discovery … new ways to adapt. Davis residents are seeking answers to vexing questions about how to reduce their water and energy use. Being a good citizen includes being thoughtful environmentally, too. How do we lead an environmentally frugal lifestyle?”

* Harry Horner is in charge of festival operations and how all the different aspects of the festival work together. Before enlisting with the Bureau of Reclamation as an environmental scientist monitoring and testing water quality, Horner worked on behalf of RepowerYolo. He said, “I was interested in the environment and the role that humans play in it.”

Horner’s interest in the environment and the Cool Davis Festival are both natural segues from his upbringing in the mountains of San Diego county. He grew up in a rural community with a lot of property and was, according to Horner, “always playing in the mud and getting dirty.” Horner is most excited about Cool Horizons, the scientific section of the festival devoted to what is on the forefront of clean energy and sustainability.

* Julie Griffin is coordinating the exhibits for the festival. A geology graduate student at UCD, Griffin’s passion is environmental sustainability. She became interested in the environment in high school when she took an environmental sciences class.

“Soil rotation, crop rotation, and how to maintain the nutrients in the soil fascinated me,” she said.

Griffin is having a lot fun working to develop the festival’s exhibit section. Thanks to the folks at Davis Bicycles!, there will be a bicycle circus and, possibly, a bicycle hockey game, she said. Cool Horizons, the area of the festival where researchers from UCD will present new technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, is the new edition to the festival.

* Cara Patton will bring her interplayful children’s program — Nature and Self-Discovery — to the festival, too.

“The children will create a mural using all-natural materials, engage in animal play that incorporates expressive movement and yoga, and participate in interactive storytelling,” Patton said.

* Michelle Millet is Cool Davis Festival’s volunteer coordinator, in addition to being a substitute school teacher in Davis, member of the city of Davis Natural Resources Commission, and a member of Explorit Science Center’s board of directors.

“Participating in the Cool Davis Festival is an opportunity to reach out to our community about lowering our carbon footprint and reducing waste,” she said. “Outreach and education are my favorite things to do.”

Millet also writes a regular column on a zero-waste lifestyle for The Davis Enterprise.

* Kate Sharp, another young scientist and UCD graduate, will be organizing the entertainment with on-stage musical acts and off-stage fun — roving musicians, jugglers and the like.

* Chris Granger, Cool Davis’ volunteer executive director, is excited to see new leadership emerging for the festival and other Cool Davis activities.

“Sara Husby of Tuleyome is serving as the new Cool Davis Coalition chairperson,” Granger said. “New volunteers are signing up to help with household outreach (our Cool Homes program). A new Davis EV owners group is forming.

“The city of Davis is also working on its final application to participate in the Georgetown University Energy Prize, which starts this winter. If accepted, the community will work to reduce energy use and compete for a winner-take-all $5 million prize through 2016.

“This is all great preparation for the formal launch of the Cool Davis One Cool City Campaign where the community will be working together in a systematic way to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and reach our net zero goals,” Granger said. “Families can sign up to participate as ‘Cool Homes’ at the festival.”