ORLEANS — If you haven’t had a chance to get out on the water this summer, or even if you have, you won’t want to miss the 10th annual Celebrate Our Waters weekend. It’s a series of fun events for families and individuals, and it’s a strategy by the Orleans Pond Coalition to build public involvement in initiatives that protect the town’s watersheds, estuaries, ponds and lakes.
The public is invited to help kick off the event on Friday, Sept. 20 by bringing their kayak, canoe, paddle board or shell to the sunset “Pilgrim Lake Paddle” at 5 p.m. Parking is at the town beach on Pilgrim Lake at the end of Herring Brook Way, and paddlers should check in with event volunteers before launching, for safety. Kids are welcome with an adult, and all participants must have life jackets.
More than a dozen events are scheduled for Saturday in venues around town. You might start by watching local artists painting outdoors at waterfront vistas or by trying yoga on Nauset Beach starting at 8:30 a.m. A hike around Baker’s Pond starts at 9, as do self-guided tours of various historical sites around town. Pleasant Bay Community Boating offers sails on Pleasant Bay at 9 and 11 a.m., and like the Town Cove kayak tour and stand-up paddleboard clinic at 10 a.m., reservations are required.
For those who prefer to keep their feet dry, there’s a bike tour around the town starting at 10, along with a model boat regatta at Crystal Lake Beach. The Family Fun Tent at Rock Harbor will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with water-related arts and crafts, science fun, a sand sculpture contest and a visit from the ice cream truck. Rock Harbor is also the place to climb aboard the historic CG36500, the Coast Guard rescue boat used in the famous rescue of 32 men from the tanker Pendleton in 1952, popularized in the Disney film The Finest Hours.
There will be tours of the Jonathan Young Windmill from 10 to 2 p.m., and a birdwatching expedition to Nauset Beach at 4 p.m.; also at 4, the Addison Art Gallery hosts an artists’ reception. If you’ve always wanted to learn to row, visit Town Cove Landing at 5 p.m. for an introduction for rowing by Orleans Sweeps and Sculls and the town’s recreation department. Saturday’s fun wraps up with the Paul Fulcher Memorial Bonfire at Nauset Beach from 6 p.m. through dark, where there will be dancing and togetherness.
The fun continues Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to repeat performances of some of Saturday’s most popular events, Sunday offers a hike on Pochet Island from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a kayak tour from Meetinghouse Pond through Little Pleasant Bay; reservations are required for both events. Don’t miss the cranberry bog tour at 10 a.m. at 128 Monument Rd.
Throughout the weekend, visit the Celebrate Our Waters headquarters at 2 Old Colony Way for updated event information and tips from volunteers. A full schedule of events is posted at www.OrleansPondCoalition.org.