Aquafest celebrates water

One day event includes visits from Maude Barlow and Cindy Cook

Story by Casey Lessard

Considering the fact that Grand Bend’s economy is based on the attractiveness of the waterfront, it’s surprising no one thought of celebrating the natural resource before. Aquafest 2009 runs Saturday, August 9 all day at locations around the area, including the main beach, Pinery Provincial Park, and River Road. The free event celebrates the value of water and stems from the Grand Bend Community Foundation’s environment committee.
“It’s a natural for this area to think about water,” says Pat Morden, who co-chairs the event with Jennifer Mossop. “It’s something we see every day.
“It occurred to us that a beachfront festival that drew attention to environmental issues in a fun and celebratory way would be very appropriate with what Grand Bend is. We have this magnificent resource and we want to be able to swim every day when it’s hot and sunny. We want to enjoy clean water and feel good about our kids paddling in the water. We now have these wonderful enhancements to the beach that make it more attractive. We want beautiful and clean water for us to enjoy.”
It’s good for the greater community, too, especially considering the fact that most of the water for the region comes from the lake.
“We have a role as stewards of a precious resource and one that’s becoming more rare all the time. This is our way of drawing attention to it without too much gloom and doom, but with an attitude of ‘Let’s see what we can do.’”
The event was scheduled for mid-summer so the committee could reach cottagers, residents, and visitors in town for the day. The hope is to raise awareness of water issues and to promote conservation and preservation.
“We’re emphasizing the usual things you can do at home to conserve water,” Morden says. “We can think about our water use and our septic systems and avoid pesticides and harsh cleaners. I’m hoping people will become more involved in the broader issues related to water and the first step is to create awareness and activity at the grassroots level. Every time you do something for the environment in your own life, that’s going to prepare you and encourage you to take broader action.”
The event includes activities for children and adults, and includes a visit from Cindy Cook of Polka Dot Door fame. Author and activist Maude Barlow, the senior advisor on water issues to the president of the United Nations, is the event’s keynote speaker.
Everything is free and runs rain or shine.

Grand Bend Aquafest
Saturday, August 8
Rain or shine. Free admission

Grand Bend beach
10 a.m. – Oakwood team building games
11 a.m. – Live music by Pedro Quintana
12 p.m. – Lambton Main Street Players
12:30 p.m. – Cindy Cook (Polka Dot Door) – environmentally themed children’s show
1:15 p.m. — Mr. Something Something – Juno-nominated afro-jazz band powered by the SoundCycle.
2:15 p.m. – Maude Barlow
2:30 p.m. — Brian Dale and other local musicians take the stage
4 p.m. — Mr. Something Something

Other Main Beach Activities:
• Children’s activities & face painting
• Kite surfing demonstration by Eclipse Kites
• Vendor/exhibitor Fair
• Shoreline aerobics provided by Workout For Your Life
11 a.m to 5 p.m. – River Road Gallery
Aquafest Art Exhibit featuring underwater photography by Mary Lynn Fluter.

11 a.m to 5 p.m. – GB Art Centre
Children’s Art Exhibit. Amateur photo contest submissions on display.

Pinery Park
8 a.m. – Riverside Trail
Birding hike guided birding tour.
9 a.m.
Nationally renowned canoe maker Skip Izon will discuss canoe design/construction.
2 p.m. – General Store Parking Lot
Lambton Main Street Players
7:15 p.m. – Outdoor Theatre
Maude Barlow: keynote address at Outdoor Theatre. If severe weather approaches Ms. Barlow will speak at the Grand Bend Legion (20 Municipal Drive)
8 p.m. – P9 beach parking lot
Sunset hike