Whitney Harris at the 2011 Green Cruise

Over 600 people came out for the 2011 Green Cruise in downtown Ferndale to celebrate non-motorized forms of transportation and other environmental causes. The annual event featured community bike rides, a Green Parade, a family activity area, and a “Green Alley” with many vendors and demonstrations.
    The event is held as an alternative to the Dream Cruise, where up to a million people flood the cities along Woodward Avenue to drive around and look at classic cars. 
    “We want to show people there are many ways to get around that don’t create pollution,” said event coordinator Douglas Christie of the Sierra Club.  “Bikes, skateboards, roller skates, they are great exercise and do less harm to the environment.”
    Shopping locally is another way that people can help sustain the planet.  Family-owned grocer Western Market made a statement at the parade about their efforts to recycle and focus on local, fresh products.  The produce guys pushed giant recycling bins while other employees walked with shopping carts spilling over with hanging basket ferns and Michigan-grown sunflowers sprouting from the top.  These impressive presentations were led by Whitney Harris, the store’s head cashier, donning a gown and tiara made out of produce.
    The lettuce dress was made of a re-used nightgown adorned with stripes of green and purple leaf lettuce and ruffles made of kale.  The tiara had a base of kale and points made of wheat grass.  Jewelry was made of radish, okra and red pepper.  The 25-year- old fashion student carried organic carrots for a bouquet.
    “I love fashion because it gives people a way to feel good and express themselves,” Harris said.  “But when it can be used to make a statement like this it’s even better.  We try to keep things fresh.”
    The cruise also featured unique bicycles, including a six-person contraption that resembled a crab crawling along a beach more than a fast-riding one-person bike.  There were groups of unicyclists, and an oversized four-person dune-buggy style bike. 
    “I really liked the specialty bikes.  The way people customize and personalize their rides can be really interesting.    Lots of great ideas,” Christie said.
    To learn more about the annual Green Cruise event, check out the Sierra Club’s website at http://michigan.sierraclub.org/semg/Green_Cruise.html.

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