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A Greener St. Patrick's Day

WEB-EXCLUSIVE: Make your St. Patrick's Day even greener with the St. Patrick's Day Celebration and Green Festival.

If you’re looking to take a break from the pub crawl scene this year, celebrate St. Patrick’s Day sustainably and avoid a green-beer hangover at the Orange County Market Place in Costa Mesa, which will be hosting its eighth annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and Green Festival on Sunday, March 16 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be performances by four Orange County academies of Irish dance, entertainment by Abbit the Average Leprechaun, gourmet food featuring traditional Irish specialties, Market Place green lemonade, green mint ice cream, green beer, and Sam Adams Boston Lager serving organic beer (maybe you'll have that hangover after all).

In addition, there will be a Green Festival, including eco-activities and educational opportunities presented by the Earth Resource Foundation: the Eco-Scavenger Hunt, the Bag Monster, Zero Waste Zones, recycled arts and crafts with the Orange County Therapeutic Arts Association, and recycling education.

Other eco-friendly activities include a Fashion Show presented by Haute Trash, a nonprofit artist collaborative that designs fashion out of trash to entertain as well as educate others to “rethink, reuse and recycle”; a select group of vendors offering upcycled and recycled products, including paper jewelry, fiber wear, duct tape wallets and accessories; recycled weapons made into jewelry; redesigned, used house décor; and a display of electric cars.

The green connection at the Orange County Market Place event started out somewhat accidentally. In 2012, the original St. Patrick’s Day Celebration was delayed due to rain and rescheduled for Earth Day weekend. To tie the two holidays together, the Market Place partnered with the Earth Resource Foundation to add a little extra “green” to the celebration.

Ironically, the Market Place later discovered that Ireland was the first country to tax plastic bags, reducing plastic bag use by 94% in 2002. So they decided it was fitting to keep the Green Festival with the traditional St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.

“Plastic bags are very hard to recycle," says Stephanie Barger, executive director of the Earth Resource Foundation. "They are made from nonrenewable raw material and 95% of them end up in landfills or in the environment. In order to get to zero waste, we need to remind people to reduce and reuse first.”

The festival is a reminder of the impact we each make every day on our planet and how important our resources are to sustain our everyday life. The goal is to make an eco-friendly lifestyle easily attainable and fun for every member of the family. The combination of the two events into one celebration proves the practicality of living a “green” lifestyle any day of the year.

Admissions are $2 for adults, children 12 and under are free. The $2 admission is waived if attendees bring a pair of used eyeglasses for the Lions Club, which conducts a program to provide glasses to those in need. More information, including a complete schedule is available at ocmarketplace.com or by calling 949.723.6660.

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