For a number of years, Earth Day Dallas was a small event. Those iterations have been described by some as “well-orchestrated” but by others as “cute”; the scope was not really in tune with a city known as Big D.
Since Trammell S. Crow took the reins a few years ago, Earth Day Dallas has grown. Boy, has it grown. The 2012 edition drew about 58,000 people to Fair Park — 20 percent more than the attendance in 2011, Crow’s team says. They’re expecting even more this weekend. Beyond that, well, the sky’s the limit.
“This is our third year, but I want it to be Earth Day Texas one day,” said Lanny Shivers, Earth Day Dallas’ eco expo manager. “And before I die, I want it to be Earth Day period.”
But it’s the substance of the event, not its size, that makes Crow swell with pride. “Our booth are all important and significant,” he said. When describing the types of exhibitors that he and his team want to sell booths to, Crow likes to say, “We don’t want ‘save the pets.’ We want ‘save the whales.'” They prefer salons that spark discussions over lectures that are designed for passive listening. And if they have to make a choice between providing a stage for musicians or space for more booths, the musicians are going to lose every time.
“It allows for a lot more interaction,” said James Murphy, a manager in the Trinity Regional Project Office of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, who attended the pre-Crow versions of the event as well as the last two.
The Earth Day Dallas organizers also want businesses, and plenty of them. The Home Depot will have a huge presence this weekend, occupying the equivalent of dozens of booths. The Hilton Anatole, Sewell Automotive, and United Commercial Realty are also among the exhibitors expected at what Crow bills as a “pro-business Earth Day,” so he can lure his heavy-hitting neighbors from the Park Cities and Preston Hollow.
“It’s really hard to get North Dallas decision makers to go to Fair Park or to Earth Day, so when you put them together, it’s really hard,” Crow said.