Aquafest volunteers

Aquafest 2013 - August 9, 10 & 11

Thank you to all the speakers, musicians, exhibitors, volunteers and sponsors for making Aquafest 2012 a great success. 
We could not have done it without you. 
We hope our message of water conservation reached the many people who enjoyed Aquafest activities throughout the weekend.

Aquafest 2013 - Final Report

The Aquafest 2013 festival was held on August 9th, 10th and 11th, 2013.   For the fifth year running, Aquafest achieved its goals in raising awareness of water stewardship and supporting our community environmentally and economically.  The three day event attracted more than 2500 people to our many events and attractions in six locations:  Grand Bend Legion, YMCA Youth Centre, River Road, Pinery Provincial Park, Port Franks and the Main Beach Grand Bend.

The festival kicked off at the Grand Bend Legion Tyler and Alex Mifflin, winners of the BBC’s Earth Panda Awards and hosts of the popular TVO series, “The Water Brothers”, with a fun, interactive and informative eco-evening.  The premier of this fall season’s episode the Dead Zone focused on algae in our Great Lakes and what innovations are being introduced to curb it.  Emm Gryner, the three times Juno nominated singer/songwriter from Forest, Ontario, completed the evening with her own brand of original music. 

At the Art Gallery on River Road, our annual student art show was featured to proud parents and friends as they gathered around displays of more than 200 pieces of fresh water themed art from seven area schools.   The photo contest & show captured breathtaking insights into our enjoyment and beauty of Great Lakes resources.  Attendees were engaged and encouraged to vote for their favourites in the People’s Choice awards.

New this year, under spectacular starlit skies, the renowned documentary Chasing Ice was featured at the Pinery Provincial Park’s Outdoor Theatre on Friday and Saturday nights, along with daytime voyager canoe rides and guided hikes of the dunes’ ecosystem.  Lambton Shores Nature Trails of Port Franks also joined this year’s festival with twice daily hikes showcasing native flora and fauna.

Family education activities continued on Saturday under a big top tent at the main beach.  With beautiful blue skies and a choppy, aquamarine lake, exhibitors and conservation authorities delivered some powerful messages and educational adventures on water safety and preservation.  For the children, there was water themed painting, face painting, and science demonstrations.  Once again, the Canadian Coast Guard arrived, but unfortunately the choppy surf prevented a safe harbouring.

As the day heated up, children’s activities continued at the YMCA youth centre where Reptiles at Risk, Mad Science, and opportunities to create giant murals depicting special water messages!   Hundreds of parents and children soaked up the fun, and our important messages.

On Sunday, Purdy Fisheries of River Road hosted our 4th Annual Great Lakes Chowder Competition where Chef Steve Stallard of BLiS Fine Foods presided over 10 Ontario restaurateurs from the region to judge the 4th Annual Great Lakes Chowder Competition.  It continues to amaze us all how creatively delicious fresh water chowders can be!

Over 400 people participated in the tasting and in the People’s Choice Award.  This signature event held on the edge of the river continues as a much anticipated event by the chefs’ community and the public.  Aquafest is proud to capitalize on this opportunity to educate about sustainable fishing practices, and why it’s so important for us all to consider sustainability in our personal choices.

Over the past five years Aquafest has evolved into more than a summer festival. Education and continuous communication form a big part spreading the message of stewardship and conservation of our most precious fresh water resources, the Great Lakes.  Throughout 2013 Aquafest volunteers presented to 7 area schools, speaking engagements with community association groups, news releases, photo opportunities, radio spots, the Aquafest Facebook Page, and email messages to “Friends of Aquafest” on World Water Day to generate awareness and keep our important messages in the forefront of the greater community.

Once again, Aquafest attracted tremendous media coverage with the focus on our message of stewardship and the ability of everyone to make a difference in protecting and preserving clean water for now and future generations.

In early 2013, Aquafest became a Community Committee of Council for the Municipality of Lambton Shores, and with this new partnership we have broadened our reach with new locations along the Lake Huron shore line.  It is our intention to continue to expand with new partners as opportunities arise.   Our mission remains to continuously reach out to all ages of the public, whether resident or visitor.  To ensure that there are no barriers to people participating in our community event and learning about the environment and how to protect it.  All our events are free admission.  Our partner, the Pinery Provincial Park also allows free admission to people attending Aquafest events in the Pinery.  The only fee is a small tasting fee for those wishing to take part in the People’s Choice awards at the Chowder Competition.   We are extremely grateful to all of our sponsors and partners who help make this happen.

Special thanks to:

Attendance:  Estimated at over 2500

Media Coverage:  Lakeshore Advance, Sarnia Observer, Exeter Times Advocate, Parkhill Gazette, Forest Standard, 104.9 The Beach, My FM in five area communities

Funding and Sponsorship:   Businesses and organizations within the Greater Grand Bend Area and beyond have been very generous in their support of Aquafest by providing a wide variety of grants, “in kind” goods, services, free exhibits, web site advertising and use of premises.

  • Grand Bend Community Foundation
  • Municipality of Lambton Shores
  • Rotary Club of Grand Bend
  • TD Friends of the Environment
  • Creative County Fund, County of Lambton
  • Hay Communications
  • Grand Bend Legion
  • Ausable Bayfield Conservation Foundation
  • Purdy’s Fisheries
  • Lakeshore Advance
  • Friends of Pinery Provincial Park
  • Grand Bend Art Centre
  • Baillie’s Picture Framing
  • Ontario Parks
  • Henry’s Camera
  • My FM Radio
  • 104.9 The Beach
  • Track 21 Graphix
  • Aunt Gussie’s
  • Paddington’s Pub & Eatery
  • Schoolhouse Restaurant
  • Jalapenos and Sunset House
  • Oakwood Inn & Resort
  • The Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation
  • Union Gas
  • Lambton County, Community Health Services
  • Canadian Coast Guard
  • Huron Woods Association
  • Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority
  • Environmental Defense Canada
  • Reptiles at Risk
  • Let’s Talk Science
  • YMCA Youth Centre
  • Lambton Shores Nature Trails

Download Aquafest 2013 - Final Report (pdf)