Rocky Fork Enterprise

Creekside Blues & Jazz

Green initiatives play a part in three-day fest

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Creekside's 14th annual music festival isn't all about the blues.

It's about going "green," too.

Presented by the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau, director Karen Eylon said the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival started in 1999 as a half-day dedication and celebration of Gahanna's new Creekside Park area and the beginning of Olde Gahanna's revitalization.

The festival was extended to three days in 2003, and green initiatives have grown ever since.

This year's festival will run Friday through Sunday, June 15-17. Hours are from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Because Gahanna has miles of park land, a state nature preserve and the designation ofHerb Capital of Ohio, Patty Donahey Geiger of PDG Communications said it is especially important for the festival to be part of the city's commitment to the environment.

"All of us at the festival are delighted and proud to see our green initiatives expanding each year," she said.

In 2011, festival organizers identified and implemented new ways to make the event more environmentally friendly by partnering with the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio.

More than 60 cubic yards of trash was recycled, in addition to thousands of soda and water bottles and cardboard from vendors.

This year SWACO representatives will be on hand to share all of the ways festival attendees can be good stewards of natural resources.

Building on that effort, the festival will offer a new refillable souvenir cup this year.

The festival also is introducing Gahanna's Herbal Trail, Eylon said.

It's a green effort that links various city features to showcase the city as Ohio's Herb Capital.

Businesses participating in the festival that are on the Herbal Trail include Arepazo Tapas & Wine, Cold Stone Creamery, Golden Nails, Koko Tea Salon & Bakery, Mezzo's, Ohio Herb Education Center, Old Bag of Nails, Signatures Deli Cafe, and the Wine Guy Wine Shop, Wine Bar & Bistro.

The Herbal Trail, which also promotes locally produced food, will incorporate new vendors such as Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, a business that uses Ohio-made ingredients; Street Thyme, selling herb-infused burgers; and Cosmic Kettlecorn, using local and sustainably farmed corn from Stockberger Spring Hill Farm in Gambier.

"Street Thyme will be selling two sandwiches," Eylon said. "The first is the Broad Street Blue Burger, which includes Pinot Noir-braised onions and thyme roasted tomatoes and the second is the 270 Triple Burger, which aside from beef, includes house-made pastrami, bacon and a thyme aioli.

"Even our vendors are getting into the Herbal Trail action," she said.

Eylon said this will mark the third year the festival has partnered with the Mid-Ohio Food Bank to provide attendees with free admission from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, June 17. Each person bringing at least one non-perishable food donation can take advantage of offer.

Thanks to visitors' generosity in 2011, approximately 507 meals were provided to central Ohio residents in need.

Eylon said green travel to the festival is encouraged as well.

Aside from the traditional festival shuttle transportation, for the first time, festival organizers will provide bike racks near Bicycle One and the Town Street admission gate.

For more information and a full schedule visit creeksidebluesandjazz.com or call the GCVB at 614-418-9114.

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