Third Annual Benzie County Water Festival
A community water celebration on April 12th, 2013, at Benzie Central High School
The Benzie County Water Festival is a unique event designed to engage the public in the stewardship of the Great Lakes, the response to the global freshwater crisis, and the cultivation of a vibrant and sustainable local culture. This year’s theme is “Under The Surface”
Seeking to emulate the precedent set by the past two years, this year’s festival will again feature world-class Michigan musicians, panel discussions, and speeches from water luminaries, interactive multimedia projects and presentations, artisan foods and beverages, visual art, children’s activities, and connections to local campaigns and projects.
Thanks to a grant from the Grand Traverse Stewardship Initiative, the 2013 Festival will begin with a Water Science Fair at Benzie Central High School. During the afternoon, students will present their projects to other students. Once the school day is finished, local organizations will set up displays alongside the student projects and the Water Science Fair will then be open to the public. At 3:30pm, The Dread, a band made up of BCHS students, will take the stage. Kids’ activities will be ongoing from 4:30 until 6:30 and will include a do-it-yourself water harp, a hydrogen fuel cell car, a watercolor mural, a video station, a stream table, and a live amphibian display, which was probably the most popular part of last year’s festival, with kids and adults alike taking turns holding all kinds of Michigan frogs, snakes, and salamanders.
At 5:30pm, Tom Kramer will once again lead this year’s panel discussions, beginning with Kurt Luedtke of Luedtke Engineering who will address the recently passed legislation to dredge Betsie Bay. At 6:00pm, the panel discussion switches to water used for fracking with activist Peggy Case, president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, and journalist Keith Schneider of Circle of Blue. Stick around for a pizza dinner, available for purchase from the after-school SEEDS program.
Combining this year’s theme and push for youth engagement, our keynote speaker, who will take the stage at 7:00pm, is Hans VanSumeren, one of the most highly regarded underwater vehicle pilots in the nation and director of NMC’s Water Studies Institute, the first program in the United States to award an Associate’s degree in freshwater studies. Americana bluegrass by Fauxgrass will close the evening, taking the stage at 8:00pm.
Through our fundraising efforts, we will work hard to ensure that the Benzie County Water Festival is free and open to the public, however donations are encouraged and will help to fund future events.