Sustainable Event Pilot: Merging Ballet and Sustainability

Kelsey Ceccarelli Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, Sustainability Program

Of the 29 organizations that are members of the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, some have large budgets and many staff members while others have less resources and less than 10 staff members. One of the smaller organizations is the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet (SDCYB). Despite their size, they continue to think of creative ways to integrate new sustainability initiatives.

Each August, they hold the Fairy Tales in the Park show as a fundraiser for their scholarship program. In conjunction, they host a public Fairy Tale Village, which has crafts, food vendors, a gently used costume sale, and more. For the 10thyear of the production, in an effort to make the event greener and show that everyone can commit to sustainability, SDCYB named sustainability as the Village’s theme. As mentioned by SDCYB, “This project was needed because it was an opportunity for SDCYB to demonstrate through example to our constituents, and the community, that every individual/organization – sustainability-focused or not, large or small, nonprofit or for-profit – can make a difference through sustainable practices.”

They had each vendor write out a “Sustainability Statement” which was displayed on their booth to increase sustainability awareness. Additional signage by SDCYB added subtle educational messaging about their sustainability practices. They took other measures such as not including glitter in the crafts and had signage explaining that glitter is a microplastic, which is why they chose to exclude it. On the operations side, they used an eco-friendly printer and printed fewer brochures using soy ink and recycled paper. In addition, they included baskets in the theater to collect programs for reuse during the shows. As far as marketing goes, they included the “sustainability-theme” in all of the promotional materials, social media, and press releases about the event.

The Fairy Tale Village hosted two local sustainable vendors as well, including Zero Waste Society, a movement and shop dedicated to moving our society closer to zero waste, and Earthwell Refill, a storefront in North Park that aims to reduce waste by selling many products in bulk. Since this was a two-day event, a major sustainability effort was saving and reusing materials from day one to day two. A central display showed SDCYB costumes and included signage that narrated the life cycle of the costume including where it originated from and how long it has been continuously reused – visit our previous blog for more details on SDCYB’s recycling and upcycling of costumes.

The Balboa Park Sustainability Program (BPSP) was proud to support SDCYB’s sustainable event efforts and created waste and recycling signage for display at the event to promote waste diversion and proper recycling. BPSP staff was also present at both days of the event to sort each waste and recycling bin, track the amount of both waste streams produced, and make sure that no recyclables were heading to the landfill. The waste benchmarking data will be a baseline for next year’s Fairy Tale Village, for which SDCYB is already looking at further decreasing source reduction waste and increasing waste diversion measures.

We are excited to continue our support of BPCP member organizations and the integration of sustainability measures in the Park including green events, waste benchmarking, and more. And thank you to the San Diego Civic Youth Ballet for making your 10thannual Fairy Tales in the Park event the most sustainable it has ever been!