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Crestone Energy Fair

A Tradition in the San Luis Valley

The Crestone Energy Fair continues to be a tradition in the San Luis Valley for more than thirty years, bringing innovative ideas in construction, lifestyle, and sustainability to the region. This event continues to be one of the longest running sustainability fairs in the nation, and in the past has included a weekend of educational presentations, community symposiums, hands on demonstrations, and guided home tours.  Run by committed volunteers, this free event is committed to improving the lives of all attendees by empowering them to learn and experience the necessary skills to use alternative building methodologies and materials in future projects. With a past attendance exceeding 1000 people, we are excited to expand the Crestone Energy Fair to a broader online audience, as we are filming and live-streaming the event, pioneered due to the covid shutdown.

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Photo Credits Lori Nagel Sunflower Zen Studios

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Since 1990, this annual event has been hosted in the San Luis Valley and remains one of the longest running alternative lifestyle fairs in the nation.  We anticipate 750-1000 live attendees, reach over 1000 viewers on our YouTube Channel and have cultivated an email list of over 1500 subscribers.  As rural Colorado grows, it becomes ever more important to provide a culture of sustainability through our free event and access to continuing education throughout the year.

A Rich Building Tradition

Saguache county, in which Crestone resides, is unique in that there are no building codes for residential properties.  As a result, Crestone has a rich history of homeowners building with alternative construction and energy systems, which provide us with one of the highest concentrations of these models in the country.  Through an interactive forum of demonstrations, potential owner-builders can learn  building styles such as straw bale, cordwood, hempcrete and earthships, as well as electricity generation from solar photo-voltaic systems, gasifiers, methane bio-digesters, and geothermal. 

We also offer home tours of completed and under construction homes, so that future builders can see the results of people who have been in their shoes, and taken the leap to build themselves.  We believe that everyone deserves a place to call home, and by providing the necessary knowledge and experience for those who have not yet endeavored to build their own, we have become a resource for those with the dream of owning a home who can’t afford a traditional builder.

Economic Development

The Crestone Energy Fair formalized our presence in the community by becoming a non-profit in 2020 with ScSEED (Saguache County Sustainable Environment & Economic Development) remaining as our fiscal sponsor.  This has allowed us to create a part-time Director position and create independent contractor job opportunities for our Producer, Graphic Designer, Web Designer, Booking Agent, Livestream Videographer, Sound Technician, Home Tour Coordinator, Youth Village Coordinator, Kitchen Crew & Photographers. To be inclusive of our Spanish speaking community in the valley and grow our network, last year we hired the Language Justice Center for video and live event translation. It is crucial in our rural setting that we continue to financially support these local professionals in the development of their skill sets and finding meaningful work that contributes to the future of our community. 

In addition, the event provides opportunities for speakers, musicians and performers to contribute their talents to the weekend and vendors to sell their handmade and locally crafted goods.  In the past few years, the Energy Fair has become the highest grossing revenue weekend for our local businesses, lodging and restaurants which contributes to the overall economic development of Saguache County.

Ongoing Education

The Energy Fair is developing a new branch of outreach this summer through our Ongoing Education series. In addition to our annual, weekend-long festival, where the community gets a taste of a multitude of skills, The Ongoing Education series will allow interested folks to take a deeper dive into a topic. Each month, our Ongoing Education will teach different building techniques, gardening practices or homesteading skills, in a two day workshop, each time with a new focus, teacher, and location. This serves to not only diversify our beneficial impact by helping different members of the community with projects at their own homes, it also deepens the educational impact of the Energy Fair. The money raised from these events will primarily be distributed to educators, and serve as a fundraiser for the Energy Fair itself. Possibly, the most important aspect of these events are to facilitate the growth and connection of our community throughout the year, empowering our cultural values of organic gardening, natural lifestyle, and conscious building. 

Rainbow Lightning Youth Village

When our inner child is inspired, we can live playfully, peacefully, purposefully and inspire those around us to do the same. Rainbow Lightning Youth Village is dedicated to aiding individuals in finding what it is in life that they are most passionate about.  We believe that once a person has found their deeper direction, it creates a meaning for themselves that will have nothing but a positive impact on the world around them! Our goal is to empower everyone, especially youth, to discover their healthiest highest purpose… and to live life inspired!

Wellness Village

Many of our attendees are builders, farmers, teachers, gardeners, healers, non-profit leaders and people who serve the overall health of our community.  In the past, we have offered healing modalities such as qi gong, tai chi, yoga, meditation and massage to support all of the work we each do to balance ourselves, each other and our connection to nature.  With your support, we can expand this offering by creating an entire Wellness Village at this year’s event.