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KEEN Connects: 11th annual KEEN Winter Fair is Saturday

For the 11th year in a row KEEN is providing a free, family-friendly way to connect with environmental, educational, and sustainable opportunities in our community.

KEEN’s Winter Fair, coming up on Jan. 25, is the perfect way to learn more about the place you call homeKEEN sometimes calls Winter Fair an educational farmers market… but I’m not sure that captures the true nature of the event and how it has morphed and evolved over the years.

Originally we looked to sustainable business owners to sell their re-envisioned, re-useable, and in some cases, edible wares to a fogged-in-winter-downtrodden community who were desperate for the coming sunnier days. But over time, KEEN’s Winter Fair has evolved to become a way for organizations and educational efforts in the region to find new audiences. Groups that do their best to get people outside, get them connected with nature, get them learning, get them to change behavior, and get them to engage with their community.

Over 30 different entities come together on the, usually chilly and snowy, last Saturday in January (the 25th this year) and spend a few hours (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at Hal Holmes telling you about their astonishing work. It is an event not to be missed. And did we mention it is free and great for kiddos too?

But why does it matter? Many of us read, watch, or hear the news every day. It can often be all bad and completely overwhelming — somedays it can be downright depressing. From climate change, environmental protection rollbacks, loss of public recreational lands, to endless fires and disasters. Some days it is hard to get out of bed and keep going with our work.

But there is something special about the groups that join KEEN each year. They work day in and day out to bring good news, great projects, good results, and great people to share hope and ways for people to ‘do something’, to make change in their lives and the lives of their neighbors. We are so blessed in Central Washington to have so very many organizations and individuals who care, and who embrace the insanity of doing the same things every day and hoping for a different outcome.

They all inspire me to keep going and when I hear their stories and their efforts I am energized to push on. A rising tide lifts all boats, and the KEEN Winter Fair is a rising tide.

All the groups (see below for the whole list) are doing amazing work. They provide recreation connections, environmental advocacy, sustainable choices, support our animal and plant friends, and are local to boot. Where else can you find those kinds of connections all in one place?

Join KEEN, and everyone, on Saturday Jan. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hal Holmes Center in Ellensburg. You can’t go wrong spending a day being inspired and being engaged.

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