Clean Air Solutions Fair 2020

By Greta Belanger deJong

Last grand gathering for a while.

Saturday, March 7, 2020 seems like a dream, now. It was the day of our 7th Annual Clean Air Solutions Fair, held at The Gateway. We expected an extra-large crowd this year, because in addition to all of our get-the-word-out gestures, KRCL and others were hosting an International Women’s Day music festival just outside our door.

We were ready, with a stellar lineup of relevant exhibitors, plus a great skill share zone, an air quality lobbying workshop, almost all the related nonprofits in town, on-message vendors, an aerial rig for the Clean Aerial faeries to perform, and the Sound Bath Experience in the Great Hall. It was poised to be the best clean air fair yet.

That was also the morning Utahns awoke to the Salt Lake Tribune front page headline that hinted at what was to come: “Utah announces its first coronavirus case”—a person who had been recently exposed on the Grand Princess cruise ship—”And the governor declared a state of emergency.”

To say the fair was lightly attended, at least compared to our high expectations, would be an overstatement. But many who came stayed at length and participated.

The skill share zone was particularly lively. People made beeswax candles and learned how to darn socks, hem pants, make sauerkraut, maintain their garden tools, build a native bee habitat, make biochar and more.

Students from Salt Lake Community College’s Fashion Institute (and their instructor, Amy Royer) stenciled T-shirts with A/Q-related messages. The Wonderbloom Nature School orchestrated a single use plastics-free KidZone. Many expressed enthusiastic thank you’s for the day as they departed. It was the best fair ever, and I was sad that the hall wasn’t teeming with people all day. The scene at the music festival outside our door looked similar. What had sucked up all our potential attendees?

Within a few days the answer was clear, and I was grateful for the lack of teeming masses. On March 14, coronavirus cases in Utah had risen to 10, including the first case of community spread. Gatherings of more than 10 were prohibited by public health order. By the 21st, cases rose to 136, and by March 28, 602. By the time you read this, numbers will likely have doubled and more.

Nonetheless, a great time was had by all who made it out on March 7—one of the last days that large-scale socializing took place in Salt Lake City. No singing or kissing occurred that I know of. I hope you’ve all remained safe and well. Abundant thanks to all of the following organizations, financial and in-kind contributors and volunteers:


Bags to Beds

Cameron Wellness Center

Center for Biological Diversity

Central Wasatch Commission

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Clark Planetarium

Clean the Darn Air

Clever Octopus Creative Reuse Center

East Bear Design

Energy Doctors, Inc.

Green Party Utah

Green Urban Lunch Box



Michael Cundick for County Mayor

Millcreek Gardens

Mobile Moon Coop

Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance


Natural Grocers

Natural Law Apothecary

O2 Today


Prival Foundation

SLCC Fashion Institute

Salt Lake Co. Health Department – Air Quality

Salt Lake eBikes

SLC Air Protectors


Sustainable Business Coalition


Underfoot Floors

Utah Clean Energy

Utah League of Women Voters (ULWV)

Utah Permaculture Collective

Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment

Utah Transit Authority / Travel Trainers

Wasatch Community Gardens

Wasatch Cooperative Market

Waste Less Solutions

WholeSun Wellness

Financial contributors:

Utah Clean Air Partnership / UCAIR

Marathon (formerly Andeavor)

O2 Today

Underfoot Floors

In-kind contributors:

The Gateway




Coffee Garden

Water & Wellness

Salt Lake Bike Collective

Wonderbloom Nature School


And last but not least, thanks to the CATALYST staff—John, Sophie, Polly; star volunteer and advisor Jim French; board members Jenn Blum and Naomi Silverstone; our interns past and present—Emily, Katie, Nataly, Shannon, Jade; and community  volunteers Lori, Lee, Ryan, Chloe, Alan, Erica, Josh, Will, Jim and J. Also thank you to Sam Crump for his wonderful photographs. Thank you all, and let’s convene again next year!

Greta deJong is founder and editor of CATALYST.


This article was originally published on April 2, 2020.