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Greening the ridge

The environment will take center stage as Bay Ridge debuts its first annual Greening the Ridge Festival on the 69th Street Veterans Memorial Pier.

The free event, being held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday, June 22nd, is expected to draw 3,000 or more participants, said Heather McCown, the founder of the Sunset-Ridge Waterfront Alliance, which is sponsoring the festival.

SRWA, which formed around the effort to restore ferry service to the 69th Street Pier, decided to do the festival, said McCown, for two reasons. “One,” she told this paper, “our organization rally wanted to refocus on the waterfront, and try to celebrate the waterfront area, especially the pier.”

In addition, said McCown, “As far as I know, there was no environmental festival or fair in Bay Ridge. With everyone more aware and active as far as environmental issues are concerned, I thought it was a good idea to put this together.”

The focus of the event is on ways in which area residents, young and old, can make environmentally sensitive choices and reduce their carbon footprint. In particular, said McCown, much of the emphasis is on children.

“We have seen that when children are aware, they end up being really good teachers for their parents and other adults,” McCown noted. “There are things for adults at the festival but we thought it would be a really great way to get kids involved.”

In all, said McCown, there will be about 25 booths at the festival.

Among the highlights will be an arts area, where children, led by Gallery 364, will be painting 30-gallon drums that have been donated to give to the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation to collect trash and recycling in area parks.

In addition, said McCown, there will be interactive booths. For one, the city’s Department of Sanitation, she revealed, “Is having huge recycling containers that will take pictures of the kids, and they will have recycling games the kids can play.”

Also, the Fire Department will have its Smoke House on display, and two local emergency response groups – Bravo Volunteer Ambulance and CERT1NYC – will be on hand as well.

The festival will kick off with a ribbon-cutting, at 10 a.m. There will also be seminars during the day, “On greening your house” and other subjects, said McCown.

Besides the informational booths and sessions, there will be entertainment performed by a local band, Pill Hill Radio, which does rock/country/folk music.

Additional information is available at www.

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