OSSINING, N.Y. – It has become a divisive issue in New York and Pennsylvania, but an advocacy group is hoping Saturday’s Anti-Fracking Festival in Ossining will be more of a celebration.
The White Plains-based WESPAC Foundation is hosting the festival from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. next to the Ossining Farmers Market on Market Square. The festival, which has the theme “For the Love of Water,” will include children’s art and nature activities, live music, and speeches from local advocacy groups and village officials. The day’s events are open to the public, regardless of political views, said WESPAC volunteer Tracy Basile.
“A lot of environmental issues are always about fighting against and stopping, and it seems to be a wave of bad news. So this event is going to strive for a positive tack and become a celebration,” said Basile, an environmental studies professor at Pace University’s Pleasantville campus. “We want to have fun and have a festival that brings together the idea of living sustainably based on clean water, locally produced foods and coming to some sort of resolution about our use of energy.”
Speakers at the festival will include Mackenzie Schoonmaker, attorney with Riverkeeper in Ossining; Susan Van Dolsen of Westchester for Change; Ossining resident Nancy Garcia; and Village of Ossining Trustee Bob Daraio.
The festival is instrumental to educating the public on the issues involved with hydraulic fracturing, Daraio said Tuesday.
“The festival itself is a brilliant idea,” he said. “Wherever hydrofracking is being attempted, festivals like this will help educate the public and hopefully get people to tell their elected officials that this needs to be stopped. I’m a big fan of these kinds of grassroots festivals.”
Daraio said he was thrilled to find out that WESPAC was bringing the festival to Ossining.
“I think it’s great that they’re doing this here in Ossining, as we’re one of the municipalities that announced that our zoning will ban, for all time, hydrofracking within the boundaries of our community,” Daraio said. “Hydrofracking is not OK. Our most valuable resource is water, and hydrofracking destroys water.”
WESPAC representatives said they plan to host similar festivals in Westchester later this month. To learn more about WESPAC, visit the group’s website.