What started as a pile of wooden pallets is now in the process of becoming Colorado's first major upcycling festival, set for October in Denver. With founder Kenny Fischer leading the way, Upcycle Events is currently raising funds for PalletFest, a festival showcasing the versatility of materials usually considered waste. The Kickstarter campaign for the project ends next week, and Fischer reports that the group has already raised 84 percent of its goal amount.
Two years ago Fischer's family decided to live a more self-sufficient life, moving from Boulder to the San Luis Valley. That's where he discovered the usefulness of wooden pallets. "We got some land, we got some chickens and a goat, and I just started building things I needed -- a fence, a bench, a tool rack -- out of pallets," Fischer says.
That gave Fischer the idea of sharing his knowledge about what you can do with objects that usually end up in the landfill. "I am an entrepreneur by nature, so one day I just said, 'Well, if I can take an old pallet and make a wine rack or a table or even a house, then why not a festival?'" he recalls. "There's a whole emerging world of art utilizing upcycled materials, and what I want to do is build an event out of upcycled materials and showcase all the limitless possibilities there are."
The festival will include large art structures made with upcycled materials, a pallet maze, a pallet amphitheater with live musical performances, sustainable living demonstrations, an upcycled fashion show, vendors and artists selling upcycled goods, a parkour course and more. One of the main events will be the pallet build-off, a competition in which teams will create functional or artistic structures out of wooden pallets.
Fischer hopes PalletFest will become an annual tradition in Colorado. "Even though we're one of the healthiest states in the nation, we're almost dead-last for recycling," he says. "We really want to help put Colorado back on the map for our green efforts. We're a very green state and I think if people can just learn to be a little bit more creative and start looking at these materials differently, then anything is possible."
Upcycle Events wants to raise $8,500 to help fund the festival through Kickstarter; the campaign ends on May 6. "By donating to this Kickstarter, you're really doing so much more than supporting an individual in their business. You're supporting our community, the arts and our environment as a whole," Fischer explains. "It's not just about utilizing the waste materials, but being conscious about all this waste we're creating and hopefully limiting it."
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PalletFest is scheduled for October 11 and 12 at Sculpture Park; the Denver Department of Arts and Venues is helping to sponsor the event. For more information, visit their Kickstarter page and website.