Silver Spring has hosted environmental festivals before, including the Silver Spring GreenFest and H20 Summit.
But the inaugural Montgomery County GreenFest on Saturday figures to be the biggest yet, organizers said.
There are more partners involved, more speakers and fresh activities, such as films that are part of the 23rd annual Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, said Elisabeth G. Feldt, director of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.
That department, along with Montgomery Parks, which is under the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, and other entities, are hosting GreenFest.
“The citizens of Montgomery County have long been leaders in the progression of the green movement,” said Feldt, who has worked for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Department of Energy. “Activities like this one help stress the importance of green living to even more people.”
The free event is slated to run 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Jesup Blair Local Park in Silver Spring and the Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring Cultural Arts Center. There will be about 80 exhibitors, as well as planned activities such as an electric car show, rope tree climbing, stormwater management demonstrations and musical acts.
Organizers hope to make the festival an annual event.
The film festival part in the college arts center will include “Growing Legacy,” about Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve, and short films designed for younger audiences.
There will be panel discussions after the showings, including by Montgomery College students following the ones for younger audiences. The college students “will be engaging those who watch the films and talk about how their choices impact the environment,” said Douglas M. Weisburger, senior planning specialist of sustainability programs with the county Department of Environmental Protection.
Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Feldt and Michael F. Riley, director of Montgomery Parks, are slated to welcome festival attendees at 11 a.m. in the arts center. Other scheduled speakers on various panels include Daniel M. Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Caroline Taylor, executive director of the Montgomery Countryside Alliance.
Food, including sustainable lunch items and vegan snacks, will be available. Attendees who bring a reusable bottle can receive a discount on drinks.
The city of Takoma Park is sponsoring a free shuttle between the event and the Takoma Metro station. Takoma Park also plans to have compost collection containers in Jesup Park and dispose of food waste.
The festival was formed by merging the Silver Spring GreenFest and H20 Summit, the latter of which focused on water-related environmental issues.
Other partners include Montgomery College, the University of Maryland, Montgomery County Public Schools, the cities of Gaithersburg and Rockville, Bethesda Green, GreenWheaton, Poolesville Green, Silver Spring Green and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission.