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StreamFest produces funds, planning ideas, little waste

Volunteer leaders for North Olympic Land Trust's StreamFest have tallied revenues and expenses.

Calculations indicate record fundraising from the Sept. 6-7 weekend of activities, as well as plenty of ideas for next year's event, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 29.

One thing they know for sure is that the event's emphasis on reuse and recycling produced less waste than ever before.

Land Trust president Jim Mantooth said StreamFest revenues were approaching $28,000 about two weeks after the weekend, with silent auction payments still coming in. He predicted expenses would be less than half the revenues even though some food costs were so high this year their producers could only offer discounts instead of the complete donations of previous years. Major savings this year included having all music donated by Washington Old Time Fiddlers Association, District 15, and Black Diamond Fiddle Club and relying on smaller canopies and umbrellas instead of renting a 40- by 60-foot "big top" tent.

Funds from the StreamFest smorgasbord dinner and other food and drink sales help the Land Trust replenish its Landowner Assistance Fund, he said. That fund assists property owners with such costs of permanently protecting special qualities of their land as surveys, appraisals, title searches and ongoing stewardship to make sure legal agreements are upheld. Other funds raised help support the nonprofit organization's operating expenses.

"StreamFest didn't start out as a fundraiser," Mantooth said. "Some of the Land Trust's leaders asked if people could visit our property, Ennis Arbor Farm, and see what the organization is protecting for future generations. After 100 people showed up the first year, we thought we should serve a meal, and we wanted to be sure to cover the costs."

Although he said he still sees StreamFest as primarily an opportunity for people to celebrate special qualities of the area and learn about caring for them, he said the income the event produces has become an important part of the Land Trust's income.

While final figures still were coming together, Mantooth said StreamFest planners already had started collecting evaluations and making plans for next year's event.

"We decided to go back to a one-day event and reduce the time commitments for volunteers and people hosting informational booths and other activities," he said. "By trying the Saturday two weeks before the usual StreamFest date, we'll avoid conflict with Port Townsend's Wooden Boat Festival and stay further away from the Dungeness River Festival. Many organizations have booths at both events, so having a month between them should make it easier for booth hosts."

Robbie Mantooth, volunteer chairwoman for StreamFest, said she wants to start meetings in February to follow up on an abundance of ideas contributed during surveys of volunteers, as well as planning leaders. In the meantime, she encouraged people interested in helping put on StreamFest 2009 to contact her by writing streamfest@nolt.org.

While StreamFest and Land Trust leaders were celebrating an increase in revenues, Robbie Mantooth said food planners were jubilant about successful a reduction - in waste. Food co-chairwoman Jerri Coen said major credit should go to Joy Siemion, owner of Joy's Wine Bistro. Siemion donated her time to coordinate the first StreamFest smorgasbord and made waste reduction one of its key elements by taking dishes to her restaurant's commercial dishwasher.

Dan Tharp, Sequim, president of Recycle NW, donated services for sorting and recycling paper and plastic goods.

Bob and Mary Casey, Seattle supporters of North Olympic Land Trust and StreamFest, donated some 700 cloth napkins that Mary and friends cut from colorful fabrics.

Coen said waste food went to the compost piles at Nash's Organic Produce and the Mantooths' Ennis Arbor Farm, the StreamFest site.

She has been researching biodegradable utensils to make sure they really will break down in compost piles and plans to purchase ones that meet this standard as soon as the inventory of plastic utensils is used up.

On the increase side of StreamFest reports, Robbie Mantooth said numbers of volunteers and hosts for booths, exhibits and activities nearly doubled this year.

Martha Hurd, volunteer organizer for volunteers, said 120 people took on responsibilities, and some already have asked for assignments again next year.

More than three dozen organizations, agencies and businesses were represented at booths, other exhibits and for nature experiences.

Information about the Land Trust's other activities and services is available at nolt.org and from the office, 360-417-1815.

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