Monday, August 30th, 2010
By Shelley Grieshop
Season ending on a good note
Musicfest a success; boats on the lake a welcome sight
GRAND LAKE - Music filled the air Saturday along Lake Shore Drive in Celina, as area bands helped raise funds to help clean Grand Lake.
Organizers estimate the daylong Musicfest raised several thousand dollars for the Save the Lake campaign and drew approximately 1,500 people.
"The bands were tremendous and everyone had a great time," event co-chairman Allen Baskett said this morning.
The performance of the four bands wasn't the only thing to draw attention Saturday. Owners of sail boats, pontoons and other watercraft crossed Grand Lake and docked at Lake Shore Drive to participate in the event. It was a sight that's been absent for nearly eight weeks since a stern water quality advisory was posted by the state.
The Musicfest was held instead of the annual Governor's Cup Regatta, which was canceled weeks ago due to tests showing the presence of toxic blue-green algae blooms. However, late Thursday, the state decided boating on the lake was again safe and watercraft of all sizes took the plunge.
Seeing the boats out there again and the support of the people was wonderful, said Milt Miller, the fundraising chairman of the Grand Lake Restoration Initiative.
"It was very demonstrative of the spirit of the whole region," he added.
Several hydroplane racers from across the Midwest also were on hand at the Musicfest to display their boats, despite the canceled races, he said. Miller said their presence spoke volumes.
"They consider this their lake, too," he added.
Approximately 500 "Save the Lake" wristbands were sold and nearly as many raffle tickets were purchased. Those sales alone raised about $1,000, organizers said. Beer sales were not yet tallied this morning. The musicians donated their time for the event.
Festival co-chairman Myron Buxton said the crowd Saturday was "very upbeat."
Don Davis, a north shore resident from the Riley Bay area, said he enjoyed the sight of boats back on the lake.
"It was like somebody flicked a switch," he said this morning. "That's the most boats I've seen on the lake for six to eight weeks."
Lighted pontoons continued to circle the calm waters of Grand Lake for hours after dusk Saturday and Sunday night, he said. Davis, who continued to sail his boat two or three times each week this summer despite the EPA warnings, said everything appears to be nearly back to normal.
"There's no smell, no (blue-green algae) blooms that I can see and a lot of the lake establishments seemed busy this weekend," he said. "I think things will continue to improve."
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