Applications have opened for stallholders to attend this year’s Living Smart Festival, which is taking new measures to ensure the event lives up to its name.

The Speers Point Park Festival, to be staged on Saturday, September 23, is one of Lake Macquarie’s largest, attracting more than 20,000 people in 2017.

Council’s Planning and Sustainability Manager, Alice Howe, said last year’s event attracted almost 200 stallholders.

“We are expecting even more this time around,” Dr Howe said.

“Whether it’s low-waste cooking classes, farmers’ market stalls or local artisan wares, we’re looking for a great mix of stallholders aligned with that core theme of smart, sustainable living.

“We would also love to hear from community groups throughout Lake Macquarie who are passionate about sustainability and want to get involved.”

In a first for festivals in Lake Macquarie, plastic bags, straws, balloons and water bottles will get the flick from this year’s event.

Dr Howe said the war to cut down on plastic waste was a hot topic currently with supermarkets nationwide rolling out bans on plastic bags.

“It is important that we, as organisers, practice what we preach, and an event-wide ban on plastics is a great start,” Dr Howe said.

Plans are underway to provide free public transport to this year’s festival, which will also feature live music, native plant giveaways and a host of hands-on workshops for all ages.

Further information about the festival and how to apply for a stall can be found at lakemac.com.au/living-smart-festival/market-stallholder-application-form.