'Celebrate Our Waters' Festival Offers Fun, Fresh Air And Learning

By: Alan Pollock

Topics: Waterways

Paddleboarding clinics will take place throughout the weekend. They are free and open to anyone age 10 or older, though reservations are required. COURTESY PHOTO


ORLEANS As it's done for the past six years, the Orleans Pond Coalition is hosting its “Celebrate Our Waters Festival” this weekend, with more than 50 free walks, talks, sails and paddles.

The event takes place Friday through Sunday, and kicks off with an opening reception dubbed Smooth Jazz Under the Stars. Featuring Bart Weisman and his group, the event will include light appetizers, chowder, sandwiches and dessert, and is a chance to learn about the pond coalition and its mission. The event happens under the tent at Depot Square, across the street from the Hot Chocolate Sparrow, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Other than Smooth Jazz Under the Stars Friday night, which requires a $20 ticket, the weekend's activities are free.

Saturday's activities begin with an early-morning yoga session on Nauset Beach, starting at 8:30 a.m. There's a kayak tour of Nauset Marsh starting at 9 a.m., and a sail in one of Pleasant Bay Community Boating's Flying Scots starting at 9:30 and 11 a.m. A stand-up paddleboarding clinic takes place at Pilgrim Lake at 10 and 11:30 a.m. and at 1 p.m. All three of these events require reservations, which can be made through www.OrleansPondCoalition.org. Similar events are scheduled for Sunday.

For those who'd rather stay on shore, the event offers a tour of an Atlantic white cedar swamp in Nickerson State Park in Brewster at 9 a.m., and a shorebird walk at Skaket Beach with Bob Prescott of Mass Audubon's Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary at 9:30. Nauset Middle School students will demonstrate science-related projects at the middle school greenhouse at 10 a.m., and Richard Ryder will provide tours of the historic Coast Guard rescue boat CG36500 at Rock Harbor form 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Not to be missed is the model sailboat regatta staged by the Nauset Model Sailing Club at 11 a.m. at Crystal Lake Beach on Monument Road. Weather permitting, a remote-controlled model seaplane will also make a visit.

Snow Library will host a series of talks, including one on North Atlantic right whales at 10:30 a.m., a presentation on diamondback terrapins at 2:30 p.m., and a showing of three short videos about water quality starting at 12:30 p.m.

Saturday evening will be capped with a spectacular bonfire at Nauset Beach to honor the event's creator, the late Paul Fulcher.

Many more activities are scheduled for Sunday. At Lonnie's Pond at 11 a.m., there will be a discussion of a pilot program to grow more than 200,000 oysters in the pond as a water quality improvement technique. A presentation on organic gardening will be given at 11 a.m. at Halcyon Farm, 3195 Main St., Brewster, and there will be a demonstration of environmentally friendly cranberry farming at 12:30 and 2 p.m. at the bog at 128 Monument Rd., Orleans.

Learn about the ghosts of the Orleans Inn from owner Ed Maas at 1 p.m. Sunday, and visit the historic French cable station at 41 Route 28 from 1 to 4 p.m.

A full schedule of events is posted at www.OrleansPondCoalition.org .