One of Southern California’s most popular community festivals — the annual Abbot Kinney Festival — to be held in Venice from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, September 28th, is eco-chic with its new “Connected” Green Lifestyle Area showcasing art, music, community groups, and businesses that inspire healthy living.

Among a variety of environmentally friendly fun attractions will be a gourmet green food court curated by Chef CJ of Bravo TV’s Top Chef, sustainable art workshops, a bike valet station sponsored by Whole Foods Market, and test drives of alternative-fuel vehicles by Drive Clean California.

“The ‘Connected’ Green Lifestyle Area is an exciting new addition to the festival this year,” says Elisa James, president of the Abbot Kinney District Association, which founded the festival in 1984. “Unlike other green initiatives, the intent of Pink Cloud’s ‘Connected’ is to shift the focus from products to people and showcase ‘green’ not as a trend, but as a firmly-grounded movement supported by people who demonstrate their care for the environment and the community.”

The free festival, which will stretch along Abbot Kinney Boulevard from Venice Boulevard to Main Street in Venice, includes three live music stages — one produced by The Hotel CafÈ, which launched its own record label this year and will debut its Live from The Hotel CafÈ on iTunes next month; Clif Bar’s punk bike polo demonstration; 350 arts and crafts booths; three food courts; and a beer garden featuring Anheuser-Busch’s Michelob Amber Bock and Shock Top. The Youth & Family Courtyard, presented by Inside Out Community Arts, includes amusement attractions, cultural performances and art activities for kids and parents.

Special guest Camryn Manheim of CBS-TV’s Ghost Whisperer has created her own line of T-shirts with slogans such as “Venice Girls Ö 10 Degrees Cooler” for sale at the festival, with net proceeds benefiting the Venice Family Clinic.

A mini-terrarium workshop will be hosted by artist Robert Quinn and the Green Ambassadors from the Environmental Charter High School. Quinn has educated the Ambassadors on his process of building mini-terrariums, which will be demonstrated at “Connected.” Only 200 terrariums will be available and a $15 donation is requested for each.

A “smart gardening” station will also provide one- and five-gallon trees to Los Angeles property owners, free with a completed application.

Other attractions include neighborhood tours with a review of the history of Venice founder Abbot Kinney, an artists’ lounge from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with artists discussing environmental issues, as well as a workshop with professional skateboarders recounting the street’s influence on skateboarding.

Parking shuttles will be available from public lots west of Abbot Kinney Boulevard and at Playa Vista and locations. For information about the festival, visit www.abbotkinney.org/.

The annual Abbot Kinney Festival has grown in size and popularity to become the second-largest community event of its kind in Southern California, attracting nearly 150,000 people from throughout the region, say organizers.

The festival is produced by the Abbot Kinney District Association, a nonprofit organization established in 1984 to promote the community and its resources. Proceeds from the event will benefit local youth organizations and community beautification projects.

The 2008 Abbot Kinney Festival is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch; Clif Bar; Shell Vacations Club; Whole Foods Market; Honest Tea; Dr. Lynn Kerew, D.C., M.P.H., Family Chiropractic, www.lynnkerew.com/; and www.DriveClean.CA.gov with media support by The Sound 100.3. The Youth & Family Court is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente; Reeds, Inc.; George Chung Realtors; Rotary Club of Los Angeles; and Literati Water.

The Connected Green Lifestyle Area is supported by Heineken, Hitch Couture, Visionary Media House, Jointlab.net/, Astrid Design Studio, The Reuse People, Go Green Moving, Green Ambassadors, Million Trees LA, Action Sports Environmental Coalition, Bossa Wines, BioSmart Packaging, 360 Vodka, G2 Gallery, Gjelina, Equator Books, Vert, Bazar, Eden’s Green Closet, Renovo, The Inconvenient Bag, Skatebook, Opportunity Green, and mulTEEpurposeÆ with media promotion provided by Your dailythread.com/, ecopop.com/, GOOD Magazine, Greenopia, Ecorazzi.com/, Greengrownand sexy.com/, Eco LA, EcoBella, and EcoStiletto.

Organized by the Abbot Kinney District Association, this year’s festival is produced by co-chairs Kim Sharp and Elisa James in partnership with Pink Cloud Events, Inside Out Community Arts, The Hotel CafÈ, and the Air Conditioned Supper Club in Venice.

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