Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that 52,000 trees were planted last year.
Gainesville has been deemed a tree city by the Arbor Day Foundation for the last 30 years, and for the last three, two local for-profit companies have teamed up to provide the city with a fun way to celebrate its trees around Earth Day.
This Saturday from noon to 11 p.m., the third annual Tree Fest will take place at Swamp Head Brewery.
This free event is the result of a partnership between Solar Impact, Inc., a local solar energy company, and Swamp Head Brewery, the first solar-powered brewery in Florida.
“They’re (Swamp Head) very interested in sustainability,” said Mike Garrett, the director of sales and marketing at Solar Impact, Inc. “Solar was a big piece of their dream for their new building. We’ve got just enough solar in Swamp Head to make it the first solar-powered brewery in the state of Florida.”
Swamp Head gave out trees every Earth Day before Tree Fest started thanks to a partnership with the Alachua Conservation Trust.
“We’re two for-profit companies in the Gainesville area, making a commitment to be here, trying to make a positive impact,” Garrett said. “People are going to Swamp Head anyway. Now when you’re drinking, you’re also fundraising.”
For every beer sold during Tree Fest 2017, five trees will be planted. For every T-shirt sold during Tree Fest 2017, 20 trees will be planted.
Money raised from the sponsorships will directly increase the number of trees planted as well. There are currently more than 30 sponsors.
“We have a significant number of private individuals who like this idea so much that they give us a couple hundred dollars (as sponsors),” Garrett said. “One hundred percent of every single dollar we collect from sponsorships goes directly to tree planting.”
Noon to 5 p.m. is family and community time at the event. There will be free bounce houses for kids, and community partners will be tabling and offering activities. The bounce houses and tabling will shut down at 5 p.m, and live music will run from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Food will be available from Cilantro Tacos, Pops Brick Oven Pizza, LEJ Pretzel Company and DeConna Ice Cream. Cinema Verde, Citizens’ Climate Lobby and Keep Alachua County Beautiful are some of the organizations that will be tabling.
Last year, 52,000 trees being planted. The goal for this year is to raise enough money to plant 75,000 trees.
The 1-year-old longleaf pines will be planted by the Alachua County Conservation Trust at the Little Orange Creek Preserve, a new nature park set to open in Hawthorne, Florida.
“If we can throw the coolest and most impactful Earth Day party in Florida, that’d be pretty nice,” Garrett said.