Allegheny Green & Innovation Festival and Hay Days at Hartwood Acres draws crowd under blue skies

Mary Ann Thomas
| Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Allegheny county was looking to break an attendance record Saturday with more than 10,000 visitors for its double bill of Allegheny Green & Innovation Festival and Hay Days at Hartwood Acres in Indiana and Hampton townships.

“The crowds have grown. This is the type of event where the whole family can come and people of all ages can find something,” said Kate Harbison, a special events coordinator for Allegheny County. “This is a modern take on the country fair, since Allegheny County no longer has agriculture to showcase.”

Judy Noble of Pittsburgh might disagree as she was promoting urban farm culture with the community group, Pittsburgh Pro Poultry People.

“People like meeting chickens,” said Noble as she held a hen that children lined up to pet.

“This is better than chicken McNuggets,” she said of her group, which provides urban chicken coop tours.

With sublime sunny fall weather, children petted chickens while others pedaled a bicycle to generate power to light a light bulb.

The whole event was solar powered and set up to produce zero waste.

All the while, the crowd munched on traditional pierogi and stuffed cabbage alongside “locally sourced” heirloom tomatoes and eggplant for stone-oven-baked pizza.

The traditional country fair, with free hay rides easily morphed into the green innovation vendor booths.

Crowds gathered at a demonstration of turning vegetable oil into biofuel as they did to buy lemonade and to have their face painted.

All the food booths were powered with solar energy created by 15 solar panels erected outside the ring of uniform, neatly lined white tents.

The alternative energy was provided by ZeroFossil Energy Outfitters of Munhall.

The panels were hooked up to displays including a small water pump that poured water into an urn until a person walked by and blocked the sun or one of the few clouds rolled in.

“People are surprised with the amount of power from just one solar panel,” said Mark Rawlings, a sustainability engineer with ZeroFossil.

The water pump display pushed out 3,400 gallons an hour.

And with the sunny weather, it was pumping a lot.

So as the man with the solar panels, Rawlings said, “It doesn't get any better than this.”

Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4691 or

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