Habitat for Humanity’s Strawberry Festival Goes Tobacco Free
March 2, 2019

“Habitat for Humanity of Marion County hosts its signature fundraising event each year called the Habitat Strawberry Festival which features live music, entertainment, vendors, food, kid zones, thrill rides, bounce houses, Strawberry Jam 5K, Habitat Food Tent, car show & STRAWBERRIES lots and lots of strawberry treats. All proceeds benefit the construction of a new home for a qualifying family who was living in substandard or overcrowded conditions or who cannot qualify for traditional lending. This home provides stability, security and a safe place for their children to play and live. The Strawberry Festival is one of the biggest events in Marion County and continues to grow each and every year.”

The Tobacco Free Partnership (TFP) of Marion County has been a proud sponsor of the event for 5 years. This year sponsoring the BMXTrickstars who also promote healthy lifestyles and youth prevention. The event has been steadily growing in size and popularity reaching 250 venders and 50,000 visitors. The event coordinator has been partnering with the TFP for the previous 3 years, making the Kids Zone tobacco free. This year, a 100% tobacco free event policy was brought to the board and was unanimously passed; expanding the tobacco free zones to the Car Show, Vendor Ally, Health Zone, Main Stage, Food Pavilion, Craft Zone, Kid’s Zone, and the parking lot. The signs were designed according to the board’s recommendations and the input from the TFP partners, highlighting strawberries for cohesion and visual cues for attendees. 

Tobacco free event policies and signage do far more than one might consider other than maintaining a healthy environment. They promote normalization of tobacco free environments, strengthen partnerships, and ensure air quality equity among visitors and participants. While it is important to tobacco users to have a provided friendly space to use tobacco, it is more important to provide clean air to those who need is most, including babies and youth, and those who are sensitive to allergens and smoke like the sick and the elderly. When designated tobacco or smoking areas are put into place, it takes away the clean air from the rest of the attendees, in addition to making those areas seem more normal to the most susceptible, youth. Smoke travels, as Dr. Barry Hummel CEO of QuitDoc Foundation says, “if you can smell it you’re breathing it;” so, best to just ask the tobacco users to self-regulate and not use tobacco while in public air spaces. The policies also help during clean up, for example, the Habitat for Humanity staff and volunteers are responsible for all clean-up of the after-event liter. As a former smoker, it may be difficult to refrain smoking while enjoying the outdoors, but going without nicotine for the benefit of others and experiencing the festival at its fullest potential, I can certainly understand adjusting a harmful habit by a couple of hours.

To learn more about tobacco free events, QuitDoc Foundation, or Marion County Tobacco Free Partnership visit our website, or Like us on Facebook.
QuitDoc Foundation www.QuitDoc.com
Marion County Tobacco Free Partnership http://www.tfp-marion.org/  https://www.facebook.com/TFPMarionCounty/
Lauren Fischer · Tobacco Prevention Specialist · 352-359-5383 · LFischer@QuitDoc.com