By Lindsay Ducharme

Above: Mayor Melissa Blake straps on a helmet and gets ready to challenge the youth of the Justin Slade Youth Foundation to a scooter race. There was a lot of action on the course, as one contestant lost a flip-flop, which almost caused a scooter pile up! Sadly, Mayor Melissa lost the race due to the amazing skills of the young contestants. The race was a demonstration of some challenges participants may have to undergo as part of the Green Beast Eco-Race, on Saturday August 31st, 2013.(Photos – Megan Wilson)

Labour Day weekend generally conjures images of the end of summer and back to school, this year however, for Fort McMurray residents Labour Day weekend will be something to look forward to.  Sustainival, the world’s first green carnival, announced they will once again be hosting a carnival in Fort McMurray as an end of summer bash.  This year Sustainival will be changing locations, moving from the Syne to MacDonald Island Park, thus making the event bigger and better.

“We are bringing a four day event to Fort McMurray at MacDonald Island Park August 30th– September 2nd,” said Antoine Palmer, Sustainival COO.

“We run all of our rides on renewable energy; in this case we will be using biodiesel which we will be manufacturing from used vegetable oil that we will be collecting from hotels and restaurants.”

Sustainival was created in 2011 in an effort to develop an event which would bring the message of sustainability to millions of people. Once creators came up with the idea of a carnival running on reusable resource, the project took off.  The first Sustainival event took place in Edmonton in 2011, since then they have been traveling across North America with over a million people experiencing the first “green carnival.” What began as one ride, the gravitron, running off converted, used vegetable oil, now encompasses the entire event including rides, lighting, games and booths.

Palmer stressed that hosting a carnival was the perfect opportunity to reach people who may otherwise not shown an interest in sustainability. “They can have fun, be entertained, but at the same time see a substantial education about ecology, the environment and technologies.  They can expand their perspective on what is possible in sustainability.”

All rides feature signage explaining what fuel they are running on.  Patrons of the carnival also have the opportunity to visit interactive educational pavilions to learn more about, what Palmer describes as “flower power” and other clean technologies.

In addition to the carnival itself, this year Sustainival will also be hosting an interactive competition called the Green Beast.  “The Green Beast is basically like taking the carnival and turning it into a massive board game with not only carnival rides but also large inflatables, obstacles, themes and challenges,” explained Palmer.

“We will release a few hundred contestants on to the field and each contestant will have a list of physical challenges they will have to complete as well knowledge based challenges. We have four major environmental themes as a part of this; we have an environmental learning curriculum that is woven into this course – water, energy, waste and biodiversity.  We have a whole curriculum of trivia, puzzles, songs, clues that are all related and woven into the physical challenges.”

During the announcement of the Green Beast, event organizers gave the community a taste of what can be expected from the competition; Mayor Blake, along with seven community members, raced around a large track on scooters.

The Green Beast has also linked with local non-profit organizations; participants will have the ability to set up their own website to fundraise for the charity of their choice, should they choose to. The event will be family friendly; contestants must be over the age of five. Participants can register as an individual or as a team.

“We are collaborating with a whole bunch of groups within the city –both the public and catholic school boards.  We also have about a dozen non-profit, charitable organizations that are using the Green Beast as their fundraising platform,” he explained.

Registrations for the Green Beast are currently being accepted, with registration fees discounted by 30 percent until July 15th.  For more information on Sustainival and Green Beast, and to register visit their website at http://sustainival.com/.

Original Article: http://www.fortmacconnect.ca/2013/07/sustainival-returns-labour-day-weekend/