COOPERSTOWN – The Otsego Lakes Festival returns to Lakefront Park on Saturday, July 12 from noon to 5 p.m. with a focus on family fun, in celebration of Otsego County’s lakes.
Educational exhibits, hands-on workshops, presentations, and lake tours will all highlight the importance of protecting our waterways and ensuring good water quality throughout the region, while great food, music, and art will round out this family-friendly event. Admission is free.
New this year is a kids’ lake art station with “juried” art contest. The art station will provide an opportunity for kids to sculpt, paint, draw or build a lake scene from various media. Their creations will then be displayed for festival attendees to view and cast a vote on behalf of their favourites. Contest winners will be announced at the end of the day, when the votes are tallied.
Local Trout Unlimited members will give free fly-tying demonstrations and lessons, the League of Women Voters will lead a recycling game for all ages, and Ronny Raindrop® will stroll among festival goers, promoting natural resources, soil conservation, and erosion control along the way.
Kids (and adults) will be able to create original works of art on cloth, paper, and T-shirts using paints and real or rubber fish at the Cooperstown Art Association fish printing tent. The SUNY-Oneonta Biological Field Station will offer demonstrations of lake-related phenomena, microscope stations to see and investigate algae, zooplankton, aquatic plants, and mosses, as well as tanks of Otsego Lake fishes, plants, and aquatic insects.
This year’s Lakes Festival features the public unveiling of the results of Otsego County Conservation Association’s countywide groundwater testing program, “What’s In Our Water?” OCCA will also conduct an informal “blind” taste test of water from the municipalities its Board members represent, to determine who has the best-tasting water.
Organized under the umbrella of Otsego County’s Water Quality Coordinating Committee, the Otsego Lakes Festival offers all the components of a festive occasion – music, art, children’s activities, good food and camaraderie – while providing valuable educational opportunities about lake protection and regional water quality programs from those who work to protect these resources. Personnel from WQCC member organizations will be on hand both to distribute literature and to discuss water quality issues one-on-one with interested parties.
The festival will also feature lake-related activities and entertainment, including:
- Water quality/ecology barge tours of the lake by SUNY Oneonta BFS staff
- Aquatic life touch tanks and “show and tell”
- Educational exhibits by lake-focused organizations
- Commemorative Otsego Lake poster sales
- Festival foods by the Leatherstocking Envirothon Committee and Origins Café
Confirmed exhibitors and vendors at the Otsego Lakes Festival thus far are: Catskill Regional Invasive Species Partnership, Catskill Headwaters Research Institute, Cooperstown Art Association, Dave Brandt Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Friends of Glimmerglass State Park Inc., Great Brook Solar NRG LLC, League of Women Voters of the Cooperstown Area, Leatherstocking Envirothon, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Origins Café, Otsego County Conservation Association, Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District, Otsego Lake Association, Otsego Land Trust, Project Buena Vista Inc., Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project, and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station.
OLF sponsors are Five Star Subaru, Otsego County Conservation Association and the SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station. To date, OLF donors include: Henry S. F. Cooper Jr., Cooperstown Distillery, Cooperstown Natural Foods, Geo. Powers Construction Inc., Master Gardener Program Cornell Cooperative Extension Schoharie and Otsego Counties, Richard McCaffery, New York Susquehanna and Western Railway, Otsego County Planning and Solid Waste Department, William Rigby, Robert Smith, Smith Ford, and Alfred Tinger.
The Otsego County Water Quality Coordinating Committee was established in 1992 as a sub-committee of the Otsego County Soil and Water Conservation District. It is comprised of a diverse group of people representing state and local government agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, and lake associations. These members have technical expertise and knowledge and are committed to working to improve and maintain the quality of water in Otsego County through the reduction of nonpoint source pollution within its boundaries. The Otsego Lakes Festival is a biennial event designed to educate the public on the importance of water resource protection.
For more about the Otsego Lakes Festival, or for further details on sponsorship and volunteer opportunities, contact Darla M. Youngs, OCWQCC facilitator, at (607) 547-4488.
Photo caption: The Otsego Lakes Festival on Saturday, July 12 at Lakefront Park will focus on water quality while offering interesting activities and exhibits and fun for the whole family.