Washington, D.C. (September 30 – October 1, 2017) – The National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) held the first ever Co-op Festival on the National Mall with support from dozens of co-ops and associations across the U.S. The Co-op Festival brought cooperatives together to share with people from near and far their unique stories of how co-ops provide opportunities for members and customers that would not be possible without the strength and sustainability of the cooperative business model.
The Co-op Festival kicked off Co-op Month with a bang! The two-day outdoor festival featured interactive booths from Ocean Spray, America’s Credit Unions, Touchstone Energy Cooperatives, Cabot, Organic Valley, Ace Hardware, Nationwide, National Co-op Bank, National Co+op Grocers, Cooperative Development Foundation, Pachamama Coffee, Frontier Co-op, and Cooperatives for a Better World – just to name a few! A lively and exciting atmosphere engaged passersby with live music, high profile speakers, games, and giveaways for all participants to enjoy. Positioned right in the heart of the Nation’s capital, the Co-op Festival introduced nearly 20,000 people to well-known co-op brands as well as hundreds of thousands of impressions on social media.
Check out some of our favorite highlights from the inaugural event!
Ocean Spray’s farm families joined in the fun at the Co-op Festival by recreating one of their famous cranberry bogs on the National Mall! Many people learned that their favorite juice company is an agricultural co-op – owned and operated by the cranberry farmers themselves!
The Cooperatives for a Better World tent displayed two large maps – one for the U.S. and one for the world. Participants were encouraged to mark the location of a co-op near their home. There were a total of 45 United States and 64 countries represented by the end of the weekend!
People of all ages lined up to race three giant beach balls down the National Mall! These 15-foot tall inflatables with the co-op twin pines insignia were a big hit thanks to NCBA! Farmers, business owners, children, parents, and friends faced off in some competitive (yet cooperative!) races.
As part of the Boy and Girl Scouts patch program, Cabot Creamery designed a passport quest for Boy and Girl Scouts to earn a “Co-op Patch.” The troops traveled around the Festival asking questions and receiving stamps in their “passports” at each co-op booth! Not a Boy or Girl Scout? No problem! Cabot offered many participation elements for completing a co-op passport!
This first-of-its-kind event started off Co-op Month right, demonstrating cooperative businesses’ commitment to building a better world. We look forward to participating in future Co-op Festivals, but in the meantime, check out more images of the event on our Facebook Page!
Header Image Credit: Sarah Crozier/NCBA CLUSA