Michael Torttorello offers an informative and exciting overview of the MREA Fair's history and the passionate participants who make it possible.
By Michael Tortorello
At 9 o’clock Friday morning, some 20,000 people will start arriving at a vast field in Custer, Wis., to talk about wind power. No joke. Get this: Thousands of souls have been coming here every summer for 23 years to talk — really talk — about wind power.Here is the Energy Fair, a three-day convergence of homesteaders, hippies, ecotopians and more than a few end-times enthusiasts, staged by the Midwest Renewable Energy Association. Beyond the lecture titled “MacGyver Windmills” (that is, devices fabricated from junk), a $15 day pass gets you admission to 200 other workshops. Would you like to learn about home algae cultivation and humane rabbit husbandry (for meat and wool)? How about advanced photovoltaic systems and D.I.Y. biodiesel?
The overarching theme is what marketers call “sustainable living,” and these days it hardly qualifies as a kooky pursuit. Many of the fair’s longtime commercial exhibitors, manufacturers of solar-energy technology or rainwater harvesting kits, could now find a home at the Home Depot.[READ MORE]