July 25, 2013
Last weekend, YTCEC (Phil, Alicia, and new intern Christy) headed up to Butte, Montana for the Montana Renewable Energy Fair, put on by Montana Renewable Energy Association (MREA). After a quick stop in Dillon, MT for a little indulgence at the Patagonia outlet, we arrived in Butte on Friday evening. We were immediately whisked away to a barbeque where we got to meet and talk with some of the other organizations that would have booths at the fair the next day.
Some great discussions, a lot of delicious food, and one dead bird later, we headed back to get some shut-eye before the long day we had planned.
We were up early to set up our booth, and at 9am, the fair began! The whole thing took place to a pleasant background of local musicians and talents performing in the tent right behind our booth. They even had a belly dancing performance.
Throughout the day, we all took advantage of the opportunity to network with Montana renewable energy organizations, in order to further expand the our reach beyond the greater Yellowstone area. There were all sorts of workshops and Alicia and Christy were even able to attend a biodiesel demonstration from a group based up in Helena.
Because the day was long (9am-4pm), the crowd coming through was not concentrated all at once. This allowed for us to have long, in-depth conversations with most of the people that stopped by our booth. Many people took an interest in the anti-idling campaign, and grabbed several stickers to put up in hopes that it would deter their noisy neighbors and friends.
The level of interest the citizens of Butte and nearby towns showed in renewable transportation impressed us; we even met a couple people who ran their trucks off pure biodiesel in the summertime!
All in all, we left the fair with a lot more connections, and a great understanding of what groups in Montana are doing to promote and encourage renewable energy usage.