June 6, 2016
Water Festival channels family fun
In addition to educational displays about the county’s water supply and several activities for children, the 25th annual Cortland County Water Festival Saturday introduced its first 3K family fun run.
More than 50 area residents, ranging from ages 6 to 50, came out to participate in the race. The runners were treated to a scenic trail through the city of Cortland Waterworks park.
“It was a beautiful area through the park,” Cortland resident Sherry Davenport, who participated in the run, said Saturday morning. “I’ve always wanted to run in the park, so it was a good opportunity to do so, while showcasing the waterworks.”
Davenport attended the race alone and noted her appreciation for the Cortland County Soil and Water Conservation District, which hosts the event and made the run family oriented.
“I like the fact children could participate, too,” Davenport said, “You don’t see that with most other races.”
Groton resident Jackson Slade, 12, who attended the run with his mother, Danielle, said he enjoyed the event and was happy to be able to participate in the run.
After the race, the winners were given prizes donated by local businesses, said Stacey Russell, an employee of the Soil and Water Conservation District and one of the directors of the event.
But the race wasn’t the only activity for people to participate in. There was an assortment of entertainment for all ages.
At the entrance to the Waterworks facility was a small pool of fish for people to enjoy. There was also a play area for younger kids with a sand box and bubbles. A water tasting booth, which had water from seven local towns, drew people to taste and compare the area’s water. Kids could get their face painted and meet Ronny Raindrop, the mascot of the Water Festival. And wagon rides around the park were available after the run.
On the wagon rides was a personal guide pointing out the area’s water wells, which draw water from the aquifer and distribute it to residents. The idea was to showcase where the city’s water comes from, which is the main focal point of the Water Festival, Russell said.
“We want to show the people what the plant does and allow them to see how the city gets its water,” Russell said Saturday.
Along with the information the Soil and Water Conservation District provides, the Skaneateles Lake Watershed and Cortland County Health Department had booths on site to educate people on topics of water pollution and fluoride, respectively.
Russell said in the past, about 400 to 500 people have usually attended the event throughout the day. With the sun out on Saturday morning, Russell said she wouldn’t be surprised if the event hit that number again.
Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin was one of the attendees and even took part in the 3K run. He said he likes the event because it is a good way to bring awareness to the city’s water supply and he thought the run was a nice addition to help that.
“It’s a great way to start a Saturday,” Tobin said.
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