Olathe AquaFest

Established 2002

General Information: 

City-sponsored community water festival
Average number of participants = 2,000 (all ages)
Counties served = Johnson (and some Miami)

Next Celebration Date: 
August 21, 2010

Cedar Lake Park
15500 S Lone Elm Rd.
Olathe, KS 66061
Time: 11am - 2pm

Raindate: 8/28/2010

VIP tour available?: 
Could be arranged, with advanced notice

Tony Purvis
City of Olathe, Municipal Services Department
(913) 971-9068

Shari Pine
City of Olathe, Municipal Services Department

Paul Krueger
City of Olathe Parks Department
(913) 971-6626

Festival Activities: 

Canoeing, kayaking & cane pole fishing, Fly-fishing demonstrations, Watercoloring & other art activities, Waterslide, Wildlife exhibits, Lawn & Garden Talks

Detailed Festival Information: 

AquaFest began as the Applied Leadership Project of a group of participants in the Kansas Environmental Leadership Program (KELP), www.oznet.ksu.edu/kelp. They envisioned a fun, water-centered event in Olathe with activities and displays that would educate participants about local water quality issues, and contacted the City of Olathe to see if the City would be interesting in hosting such an event. The City of Olathe is a full service city that provides its own drinking water, wastewater, solid waste, recycling, composting, and household hazardous waste services to 110,000 residents, and wholeheartedly embraced the idea. A community water festival would not only be a great way to promote recreation in the Citys lakes and parks, but it would provide unique opportunities for involving residents in local water quality concerns, helping to address requirements under the NPDES Phase II Stormwater Program.

The first years event was held in 2002 to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and since it has become the Citys annual water celebration. Its a celebration of our communitys water resources, and an opportunity to learn about our watersheds and the roles each of us plays in protecting and restoring our local lakes and streams. Each year, roughly 2,000 children and adults gather for an afternoon of free, educational family fun alongside scenic and historic Cedar Lake, one of the Citys original water supply reservoirs. The activities are hands-on and designed to appeal to all ages. We want participants to walk away with an enriched appreciation for our environment and the natural landscape of our community parks, and an understanding that we can all make a difference. We encourage citizens to bring the whole family because theres something for everyone.

AquaFest is truly a community water festival. Its simply about water, which is an essential component of the overall quality of life in our community. In the past years, the event has successfully brought together citizens, community leaders, volunteer groups, local schools, educators, and a host of partnering agencies for this afternoon at the waters edge. This event provides a unique opportunity for children to learn alongside their parents, in an interactive and enjoyable setting, about the simple things each of us can do to improve water quality.

The event budget has grown in four years to $10,000, with the primary expenses being publicity, tents/tables, food and entertainment. From the beginning, we have been able to overcome the challenges associated with funding this event by spreading the costs among several different City departments that share a common goal of enhancing public education and outreach efforts related to environmental stewardship. Most of the activities are provided as in-kind contributions by the numerous partnering agencies and organizations that make this event a success.

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