Okay, before I tell you about the show, I will say thank God organic cotton is easy to stretch. The women's XL looked to be a size 12. So I took a men's. It was about a 16.
Pros of Chicago Green Festival 2008:
* great food samples of all my favorite treats--and new ones too
* coupons for many of those treats
* great book selection in the book section
* cool kid activities and vendors
* great complimentary magazines that I now want to subscribe to
* good restaurants selling food in the food court area
* lots of great resources for green building/remodeling
* good local agency representation
* the show was a do-able size
* green investment peddlars (one wanted $25,000 to invest before he'd meet with you, though!)
* great alternative transportation information
* lots of energy-saving information
Cons of Chicago Green Festival 2008
* uninformed volunteers (me included)
* Navy Pier sucks
* not enough bathrooms
* not enough information on the website beforehand to make people want to go
* not enough publicity for the event in general
Okay, that last one may not be true--I'm kind of a media avoider, although I do listen to NPR and WGN--the two radio stations they should target IMHO.
When we got there, nobody gave us any show information (there was a guide with a map that we found as we were leaving--this would have made us better-informed volunteers). When we were assigned our "posts" we were just told to greet people and answer their questions which would have been easier had we been given the show guide when we got there. Their main question was "where is there another bathroom?" We heard some complaints about there not being enough garbage cans, but I thought that the garbage/recycling/composting stations were plentiful and well-run. I think next year you should get a toothpick when you walk in, and that is your toothpick for all the sampling all day. A lot of trees died for the sampling. . . The other complaint we heard was that the box office was all the way at the end of the building, so you had to walk past all the fun activities to get there (it was pretty far from the show entrance). Navy Pier is not my favorite place, so I'd be all for them having it somewhere else in the future. To get to the show you had to walk all the way down the pier (inside or out) and past the arcades, foodsellers, tacky gift shops, etc. It was a little chilly out to walk outdoors, but we did on the way out just to avoid the chaos that is Navy Pier.
Overall it was a worthwhile event. I think they should lower the admission price a bit--it was $15, but you got a discount for lots of things (riding your bike, taking the bus or train, being a certain age. . . all of which you can't really prove). Some people had free passes that they got in the mail without ordering them. Just make it ten bucks, and give discounts if you want to.
I didn't make it to any of the speakers, but some friends did. They said I didn't miss anything because I already have a handle on what being green means. It was kind of a beginner level lecture series, I guess. They were disappointed about that, but it made me feel better!