What’s missing in the diet is sustainable seafood, or “real fish,” that is caught in the ocean. Hollinger believes it’s not only healthier for consumption, but better tasting too.
“A lot of seafood comes from factory farms of factory fishing,” he said, “which is really bad for the environment and not great for your health either.”
That’s why Hollinger, the founder and creative director of HighLife Productions, helped organize the second annual Aquarius Festival on Saturday night at The Foundry in Long Island City.
The festival offered seafood and cocktail vendors an opportunity to showcase their foods and drinks. According to Hollinger, all of the participating vendors have sustainable items on their menus.
“It’s an awareness event so that people understand what sustainable seafood is, just how delicious it tastes and where they can get it,” he said. “There’s nothing like this.”
In addition to the food and drinks, the event featured immersive performances from the Winter Wolf Ballet and the Fireside Garden.
Hollinger said he chose The Foundry in Queens because “there’s no event space quite as beautiful.” With the Queensboro Bridge in the background and an open-air courtyard for vendors, the Foundry served as an ideal location for a mini pop-up festival, he said.
In addition to the Aquarius Festival, HighLife Productions also organizes Secret Summer, another “immersive festival” that pairs art and performances with food and drinks.
“They fully engage all the five senses,” he said. “It allows you to really discover and get into it.”
One of the vendors displaying their products at the Aquarius Festival was Coney Island Brewing Company. Chris Murray, who works for Coney Island Brewing, said they participated in the Secret Summer festival last year.
“It’s really great being able to be out here, talking to people about the product and Coney Island,” he said, “and let them try it firsthand.”
Formerly the world’s smallest brewery, Coney Island Brewing has now set up shop on the boardwalk on Surf Avenue. Among their many offerings is the Mermaid Pilsner and Merman NY IPA.
“With it being an aquatic theme, and us being the Mermaid and Merman,” Murray said, “it’s the perfect fit.”