2014 Water Festival

Fourth Annual Benzie County Water Festival
A community water celebration on April 25th, 2014, at The Garden Theater in Frankfort

The Benzie County Water Festival is a unique event that is 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 “Keeping Our Waters Blue”.

Thanks to an ongoing partnership with the Benzie Conservation District and Benzie County’s Recycling Program, the 2014 Water Festival will begin at 1pm with kids’ activities for all K-6 Platte River Elementary students that include an interactive recycling exhibit and crafts, water tasting (tap vs. bottled), a worm farm, an aquatic bugs display, and the Nature Discovery Live Reptile & Amphibian Exhibit, which has probably been the most popular part of past festivals, with kids and adults alike taking turns holding all kinds of Michigan frogs, snakes, and salamanders. Students from other elementaries are invited to come with their parents once the school day is finished, from 3:00pm to 6:00pm.

From 6:00pm to 9:00pm, the Water Festival will move to The Garden Theater for a panel discussion, a keynote address, and foot-stomping music. Interlochen Public Radio’s Peter Payette will return to lead this year’s panel discussion, which centers around the theme of “Keeping Our Waters Blue,” with an emphasis on the many different industries that have an effect on water quality. Christy Anderson, elected in 2012, is the Benzie County Drain Commissioner, and Bill Crawford works at the Benzie County Department of Public Health; Rob Karner, a biology teacher at the Leelanau School and the watershed biologist for the Glen Lake Association, will speak about responsible ways to plant your lawn beside a water body. Bernie and Sandee Ware of the Ware Farm in Bear Lake will talk about their method of organic agriculture.

Former Tribal Chairman Derek Bailey, our keynote speaker, will give an Indigenous perspective regarding our beautiful waters. He holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and was appointed by President Obama in May 2010 to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education. Kalamazoo-based Graham Parsons & The Go Rounds are a furious live musical act and a progressive recording unit, fueled by the history of its diverse line-up and a collaborative spirit that is injected into everything from songwriting to arranging. Equally inspired by their record collections as by the beauty of the Great lakes State, the band explores soul music, baroque folk, art rock, country, and classic rock ‘n’ roll.

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.

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