September 1, 2017 at 8:30 pm

Visit Energy Village at Pawpaw Festival, Sept. 15-17

Energy Village at Pawpaw festival, with tractor in foreground pulling wagonload of pawpaws.

Energy Village at Pawpaw festival

By Kaitlin Kulich
Sustainability Studies Theme

Every year there are a plethora of vendors, performances, food, and activities to enjoy at the Pawpaw Festival. Whether you are camping out for the weekend or just strolling around for an hour or two, it’s hard to experience all that the Paw Paw Festival has to offer. However, one stop that is a must this year is going to be the Upgrade Athens County Energy Village.

  • The Pawpaw Festival is Sept. 15-17 at Lake Snowden, 5900 U.S. 50 West, Albany, OH.

The Energy Village has one major goal: educate people about renewable energy and sustainable living so that they can live out more sustainable life styles. Upgrade has many ways of reaching this goal at the Pawpaw Festival by having a packed schedule full of demonstrations, panel discussions, and educational activities for kids.

2017 Ohio Pawpaw Festival logo, showing raccoon on branch eating a green pawpawOne thing new this year at the energy village this year will be “Solar Access,” a project geared toward making solar energy more accessible to households and public buildings. The exact launch date of this program is unknown as of now, but people interested in purchasing solar subscription shares through “Solar Access” can give their name and contact info to volunteers at the tent.

Also new this year will be a display of electric vehicle models such as the Corbin Sparrow and a ride and drive partnership with Drive Electric Ohio, an initiative of Clean Fuels Ohio, that will be at the front entrance of the event.

Matthew Roberts, info and outreach director for Upgrade Athens County, says he hopes people will walk away from the tent inspired to take the step to invest in sustainable energy.

“What I’ve found is that most people have thought about these opportunities before but want to have an extra nudge—the Energy Village creates the chance to give that nudge,” he says.

Upgrade Athens County, a project of Upgrade Ohio, is a community initiative aiming to connect people with local resources to reduce energy use and access renewable energy solutions. Upgrade has created opportunities for regional governments, rural farm producers and small businesses across Ohio to use solar, bio-methane and geothermal technologies. After several years of being implemented into the Athens community, Upgrade Athens County is a finalist in the Georgetown University Energy Prize. The winning community will receive a $5 million prize to use on environmental sustainable energy projects.

So while you are window shopping at artisans tents, sipping on some pawpaw beer, or casually listening to a local artist strum away on a banjo, make your way over to the Energy Village. You may go home with not only fulfilling your pawpaw cravings, but a plan to become part of a sustainable, community initiative.

For the third year, the Sustainability Studies Theme is helping to co-sponsor the Pawpaw Festival.  For more information about the Sustainability Studies Theme, visit our webpage at

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