The Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival will look a little different (and greener) this year. In addition to taking place on a new date in May, vendors will be utilizing only biodegradable bags, silverware, and food containers. The sale or disbursement of plastic bags, straws, and stirrers, as well as Styrofoam containers and other single-use plastics will be banned on city property starting May 11, in accordance with a City of Winter Park resolution. With more than 200,000 people expected to attend this year’s festival, city leaders hope for a significant impact.
“Single-use products and plastic bags are difficult to collect and contain, take significant time to degrade, pollute waterways and natural lands, and can be potentially harmful to wildlife,” city officials said in a recent social media post.
The City Commission actually passed the resolution on single-use plastics back in November, but allowed a six month grace period for vendors to make necessary adjustments.
The Sidewalk Art Festival, running May 14 to 16, will be the first large event following the resolution’s effective date. The policy also applies to the Saturday Farmers’ Market and other events hosted on city property. Exceptions are allowed for circumstances such as compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and when under a State of Emergency.
To encourage enthusiasm surrounding the inititative to keep Winter Park clean and protect the environment, city employees will be distributing complimentary tote bags and straws at the Farmers’ Market starting May 22.
When asked, communications director for the City of Winter Park, Clarissa Howard, confirmed the city’s special events team has been talking to vendors to ensure they are aware of the new policy. Violation of the policy could lead to a denied renewal of a vendor’s license.
This resolution follows similar single-use plastic bans in both the City of Orlando and Orange County.