Reno County Water Festival

Established 2000

General Information: 

The event is school-based. All fourth grade students in Reno County are invited to attend. In six years, 3,322 children have attended our festival and learned about our most valuable resource, water.

Next Celebration Date: 
January 12, 2007

Tentative; Hutchinson High School, 1401 North Severance, Hutchinson. Tentative Schedule: Morning Session 8:10 am 11:00 am; Afternoon Session 11:30 am 2:20 pm.

VIP tour available?: 

Darcy Basye
Reno County Health Department (lead agency)
(620) 694-2900

Festival Activities: 

Edible Aquifer; Water Millionaire; Critter Quest; The Power of Water; The Soil Guys; Groundwater Constructed Wetland; Ancient Waters; Wonder Whats in Your Water?; Water Jeopardy; No Water off a Ducks Back; Only Rain Down the Drain; Gooey Garbage; Kitchen Chemistry; and Stan Slaughter, The Eco-Troubadour.
Pre-activity is the poster contest for the fourth grade students. Each year a different theme is selected by the planning team. At the end of October the posters are judged and a winner selected to be featured on the water festival t-shirt. T-shirts are given to students, teachers, presenters and sponsors. The winner receives t-shirts for every member of their family, prizes and recognition at the Festival.

Detailed Festival Information: 

Planning Team: Pat Garwood, Mary Clark (Dillon Nature Center), Barbara Lilyhorn (K-State Research and Extension Office), Millie Reed (City of Hutchinson), and Jan Richardson (Reno County Conservation District Office)

The Reno County Water Festival was started by a request from citizens of Pretty Prairie to incorporate their students water festival into a countywide event. A committee was formed in November of 1999 and the first countywide festival occurred in January of 2001. The first festival was an all day event with 372 students attending.

We have an outstanding committee that work well together. Our presenters are committed to educating youth about the importance of water and the role the students play in the preservation and protection of water. The festival continues to attract educators who are willing to include this event in their field trips. We are fortunate to have teachers that bring their students every year. Last year we had 652 students attend. For the last six years we have used USD 308s high school building for our festival. The classrooms, the auditorium and the cafeteria provide an excellent setting for our activities. As seen through the eyes of a fourth grader, spending time walking the halls and being in the rooms at the high school is exciting. T-shirts are delivered to the teachers prior to the festival. The day of the festival the halls and classrooms are filled with students, teachers, volunteers and presenters wearing the official festival designer t-shirt. Contest posters and Did You Know facts decorate the halls.

We are now approaching our seventh year and have been fortunate in planning and hosting this celebration of water.

  • Be Flexible: The second year with registration approaching 455, we had to turn away students because we simply could not accommodate that many students for an entire days festival. The solution to the problem for the next year was to divide the day into two sessions. As edible aquifer is a very popular activity, we now hold this activity in the cafeteria with three presenters. This set up allows all students to participate in edible aquifer.
  • Perks for Presenters: Presenters are given time the day before the festival to set up their classrooms. Each presenter is given an official Festival T-Shirt to wear at the event. The schedule is made so presenters have breaks during the sessions. We have a hospitality room set up for presenters and volunteers. To assure that presenters have time to eat between sessions and clean up at the end of the day, the last activity is a large group program held in the auditorium.
  • Funding: The Planning Team has been able to receive financial support from several towns/cities within Reno County, businesses and grants. Logos of our sponsors are featured on the back of the t-shirt. Our biggest expense is to provide t-shirts to all the participants of the festival.

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