This weekend marks the San Francisco Green Festival, the largest eco-affair in the United States. Started six years ago as an annual weekend event in the Bay Area, the Green Festival has since grown into an enormously popular multi-tiered nationwide extravaganza. In 2008, the GF will hit Seattle, Chicago and Washington, DC before its yearly November appointment in SF.

Staged by Global Exchange and Co-Op America and co-sponsored by The Nation, among scores of other publications, media outfits, non-profits and NGOs, the GF offers one of the best forums for exploring what’s next on the horizon for renewable energy, the climate change fight, green parenting, organic foods, the struggle against environmental racism and much more.

It’s also a great place to buy gifts, chow down on free samples of organic chocolate and get buzzed on Yerba Mate and fair-trade coffee! A massive green fair more than anything, the GF draws tens of thousands of attendees who swamp hundreds of exhibitors hawking the latest in hemp fashion, non-toxic toys, eco-tourist offers, green building supplies, socially responsible investment options and vegan cuisine. And despite the emphasis on buying things, the festival always manages to present talks and lectures by major progressive figures on a variety of topical subjects. This weekend’s GF features talks by Amy Goodman, Medea Benjamin, and The Nation‘s inimitable John Nichols.

The Nation will be at booth #510 throughout the Festival. Meet Nation writers and staffers and pick up free copies of the magazine and other swag! And don’t miss Nichols’ talk on Sunday, November 11, at noon on the main stage. He’ll be making the case for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney. Click here for a full schedule and to buy tickets. The show takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, November 9, 10 and 11 at the San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center. And if you can’t make it to San Francisco, check out the GF website for info on webcasts and on future Fests in other cities.

Finally, watch this YouTube video for a brief history of the Green Festival.