There is everything to love about Greenfield Lake, with its winding 4 mile bike trail, paddle boats rentals, playgrounds, wisteria covered picnic shelters and glorious stands of azalea bushes. And that’s not even taking into consideration the huge population of white herons, Spanish moss covered cypress and an occasional alligator. Greenfield Lake is the perfect place for a dog walk, an afternoon taking nature photos or reading on a shady bench. Greenfield Lake is also the perfect location for LakeFest.
Not much could top a few hours at Greenfield Park, except a few hours at Greenfield Park during LakeFest, a one-day celebration of nothing more complicated than water, organized by Cape Fear River Watch. The organization was founded in 1993 to protect and improve the water quality of the Lower Cape Fear River Basin. LakeFest combines history, animals and science for a day in the park that brings advocacy, education and action together.
How LakeFest Started
LakeFest was first held in 2011 as an education day following Cape Fear River Watch’s biggest fundraising event of the year, StriperFest. The January banquet, auction, and Tag and Release Striped Bass fishing tournament on the Cape Fear River evolved into an education day. A few years later, it was moved to the spring calendar.
“We needed to do something in the spring, to reach out to people who might not have the kind of educational opportunities that Cape Fear River Watch can provide,” says Kemp Burdette, Cape Fear RIVERKEEPER®. “LakeFest makes it possible for us to reach a different community than the folks who come down to the convention center for StriperFest. We focus on the people who live around the lake, who are this neighborhood, and who represent a diverse demographic of people who want to learn about our water resources.”
Celebrating Greenfield Lake
LakeFest 2016 is a family-oriented celebration that brings other organizations from the Cape Fear community together in the park surrounding the Greenfield Lake boat house. The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, North Carolina State Parks, UNCW and various other groups will setup interactive exhibits, learning centers and other ecology and science-related activities. LakeFest is an engaging environmental education day with fishing demonstrations, microscope stations, and visits from the area’s raptor and reptile centers.
“It’s all about Greenfield Lake – people can participate in the exhibits and go out on the lake in paddle boats and canoes,” says Burdette, “but it’s bigger than that – it’s about water quality and the river and just trying to get kids, especially, to understand that the river’s important, water is important and that they can do things every day that improve water quality.”
Cape Fear River Watch manages the boat house at Greenfield Lake, which has just undergone an extensive renovation by the City of Wilmington with new docks, improved boat facilities and newly landscaped lawns.
Organizers, along with almost 50 volunteers, hope that LakeFest 2016 will exceed last year’s attendance of more than 300 people, and are aiming to exceed 500 guests.
LakeFest 2016 will be held on Saturday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Greenfield Lake Park by the boat house and the main parking area, 1729 Burnett Blvd. Visit the website for more information.
Photo credits: Courtesy of Alan Cradick Photography