Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Elizabeth May in Edmonton - Pics and Podcast - Green Party Rally, EcoBall, and Vegan Potluck

Podcast of Elizabeth's speech on fiscal responsibility and the New Economy:

When Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada, visits Edmonton, as she does more often than most party leaders, I usually have the very great privilege of organizing her events and rallies.
We got the call in this election to pull it off on fairly short notice, election timing being what it is, so we pulled some ideas out of our previously brainstormed grab bag to make it show-stopper!  It's already Earth Week, and to help encourage those green-minded folks who might want to check out a party rather than just a political rally, as well as to reach out to our younger population, we whipped up the EcoBall!

We rented the Avenue Theatre on 118th ave in my riding. It's the first time we used it, and it's a great little space, by the way.  Very reasonable for the capacity and facilities it provides, and the staff were more than helpful...  For refreshments, we brought in fair trade coffee, tea, and organic juice.

When we looked into food, however, it turned out that even the most inexpensive vegan caterer would cost more than the rest of the event put together!  Georges Laraque, our Deputy Leader and NHL sports star, is vegan and very publicy so.  In order to promote vegan menus and encourage creativity, we came up with a vegan potluck.  The door price was reduced to a pittance to those who brought a vegan dish for 10 people, and we had so many people taking advantage of our offer that two tables with filled with fantastic contributions.  Some even brought warming dishes to keep their creations toasty!

Setting up at the start of the evening
 The EcoBall is a new idea in Edmonton, so most came in street clothes, though the ones that came in costume certainly made up for it!
Christie in Green: the Creatrix and heart of Garbaganza - EcoCouture from dumpster diving!

Mother Earth from Garbaganza - Made from Astroturf!
More Garbaganza originals!

The Leader of the Pirate Party of Canada won our costume contest!
In the space of about a week and half, we got together at least three bands, as well as fillers to vamp if necessary, to entertain and liven up the crowd before Elizabeth's arrival. Which was a good thing, too, as her train was an hour late! Even I needed to pitch in, but it was so hectic that I forgot to tape my performance...

Local hot C&W band the Backstreet Affair.

Local busking celebrity piper, personal friend and Green Party supporter Glenn Eilers pitched in, too.


We had a few ecovendors for interest. 

My booth - just to keep my hats straight, my apprentice got to keep all she made..

The Edmonton Bicycle Communters didn't return my emails.  I heard a rumour that it was because they were worried about becoming too political.  My answer to that, and to all NPO's trying to make a difference, is that to change laws, one must become politcal.  Laws are made by lawmakers.  Nearly always, lawmakers are politicans.  Therefore to be effective, if they haven't yet, activists must politicize.  I have found that the Greens, as the political arm of progessive activism, already make such a huge difference in the policies of other Parties and the dialog of the country, especially during an election!

There were swarms of press, too!  I've never seen so many reporters in one place.  Print, radio, and TV took up most of the lobby and some of the outside! 

Elizabeth, Georges, me (in the garb) and some of the Green Party candidates

Georges kept most of them busy from when he first showed up until Elizabeth arrived, so we jumped straight into her speech instead of his intro after she was mobbed by the media.  They both are always treated like rock stars...  And I admit that I am very pleased with my ability to get the word out.  Sometimes I need to pat myself on the head...

All in all, it was such a successful event that we are already thinking about next year!  Hundreds of people showed up, about 1/4 of them youth - there was fabulous food, great music, fun outfits, and much networking. I'm thrilled that it was so well-received and so well-attended.  Thanks so much to all our wonderful volunteers!  We couldn't have done it without you.  I'd also like to thank all the press for their professionalism and attendance, the techs for their hard work, and most especially Elizabeth and Georges for making this event one of the highlights of the election and Earth Week in Edmonton!