MARQUETTE - The inaugural Waterpalooza kicked off Sunday in Mattson Lower Harbor Park, offering passersby a chance to learn more about preserving the world's natural freshwater supplies and have a little fun in the process.
The event was hosted by Save The Wild U.P., an organization dedicated to helping protect the natural resources in the Upper Peninsula through public awareness campaigns and education.
Amy Conover, a member of Save The Wild U.P.'s board, said Sunday afternoon the event was moving right along.
Above, a group of children line up to take a ride down the waterslide at the inaugural Waterpalooza event at Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette on Sunday. (Journal photos by Jackie Stark)
"It's going really well. For a first time, we've had a really good turnout," Conover said, adding that Waterpalooza was meant to help raise awareness of freshwater issues. "We wanted an opportunity for groups to come out and provide people with information about lakes, watersheds, issues affecting our water.
"We wanted to help people see ways they can get involved in caring for our natural resources and what sustainability really means. Water is life."
The event was planned to coincide with Lake Superior Day, and Conover said Waterpalooza was a great way to celebrate the lake while providing information on its preservation.
The event offered a number of informational booths that provided visitors a chance to not only learn more about Lake Superior, but to view pieces by local artists whose work is influenced by its shimmering waters.
"Most of our local artists are in some way influenced by the Great Lakes," Conover said. "It's hard not to be."
Children could take a trip down the waterslide set up just outside the informational tent or stay cool in the shade by spending some time in the sand art tent, making a one-of-a-kind piece of art.
Adults could peruse the informational and artists' booths before heading over to the beer tent to cool down with some Michigan beer.
Conover said she hoped the event would help people appreciate the rarity of living on such a large freshwater lake.
"Looking at global water issues, we really can't take what we have for granted," Conover said. "It's so precious and so rare. This isn't found in the rest of the world, these Great Lakes."
And with the good turnout of this year, Conover said she and the rest of the Save The WIld U.P. staff and board members are looking forward to the second annual Waterpalooza.
"We already started planning next year's," Conover said.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.