It’s not quite time for Earth Hour, but Goldstream Avenue restaurants will get their light-dimming fingers warmed up with Unplugged on the Avenue.
Ten participating coffee shops, pubs and family eateries will turn down their lights, bring out candles and unplug their sound systems over dinner for the first-ever Unplugged on the Avenue on March 16. Musicians will perform acoustic sets at each venue and information will be given to patrons about energy conservation.
Deanna Deacon, events co-ordinator for the WestShore Chamber of Commerce, organized the night, inspired by a similar dine-out event on Vancouver’s Commercial Drive. She hopes it will make people more aware of how simple conserving energy can be.
“It can be as easy as turning out a light for a few hours,” she said. “It all adds up.”
The concept mirrors that of WWF’s Earth Hour on March 25, when people around the world are encouraged to blackout their homes for 60 minutes at 8:30 p.m. These one-off events aim to change habits throughout the year.
The municipalities of Langford and Colwood have both set goals to reduce energy use and greenhouse gas by up to 50 per cent over the next 10 years.
“If they are going to come anywhere close to meeting those high targets, everybody is going to need to do their part,” Deacon said.
She encourages people to walk, bike or bus to the restaurants if possible.
“We have do many great placed to dine out in our own backyard,” she said, noting that a secondary goal of the night is just to get people out to the restaurants, which have been struggled since the introduction of the harmonized sales tax and tougher liquor laws.
“We’re doing this in the middle of March, in the middle of the week, when people don’t usually go out for dinner,” she said. “It’s a good excuse to do something fun to support local business.”
Some restaurants will be offering deals, such as drink specials, to mark the event.
For the acoustic performers involved, it’s also a good opportunity to get some exposure. Ronda Rozon, a Langford singer-songwriter, will play a mix of covers and her original music at Serious Coffee.
“There’s a lot of community-minded performers on the West Shore that need venues to play,” she said. “It’s a perfect way to use less energy. The restaurant saves the power from their sound system, we get an audience and people dining out can just enjoy the atmosphere.”
Unplugged on the Avenue is March 16 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, including restaurant descriptions and locations, visit www.unpluggedontheavenue.com.
Basilico Ristorante + Lounge
Chocolate au Lait Cafe
Crossroads Bar and Grill
Evedar’s Bistro & Espresso Wine Bar
Serious Coffee – Colwood Corners
Smoken Bones Cookshack
The Garlic Rose Patio & Grill