Green Corner: Brews & Crews weekend, supporting water conservation education
August 11, 2016
On Saturday, August 13, a unique breed of athletes will descend on Grand Lake. They will come armed with graceful blades called paddles and oars. They will come to compete and celebrate in the 4th Annual Spirit of the Lake Regatta from 7 to 11 a.m. The Grand Lake Brewfest is celebratory event held immediately after the Regatta until 5 p.m. The tradition of these two combined events has become known as Brews & Crews Weekend.
"We wanted this unique event to reflect a mission," said regatta Co-founder Tim Hodsdon. "These water warriors are competing on clean-running, self-propelled watercraft on waters that transpire into the mighty Colorado River as it struggles to makes its 1450-mile journey, through seven states and two nations, to the Gulf of Mexico. We are the stewards of its origin and that is quite a responsibility."
Infinite West, a local nonprofit organization focused on sustainability with an emphasis on responsible stewardship of land and water, and responsible for these Green Corner articles, hosts the Spirit of the Lake Regatta. The organization donates a portion of the proceeds from the regatta toward water conservation and education programs. Last year Infinite West raised $3,800 various sustainability programs in the area. This year donations will go to the Grand County Water Information Network (GCWIN) for their efforts to educate local students about watersheds, ecological systems and headwaters conservation.
"We believe there is a strong need to ensure that the next generation is prepared to become stewards of our natural resources," says Jane Tollett, former Director of GCWIN and newly appointed County Commissioner. "There is a need for them to recognize the importance of watershed conservation and also to see opportunities available to attend college and study science."
Funds from the regatta will be used to provide transportation for field studies and other GCWIN educational programs.
In the spirit of conservation, organizers challenge themselves to make the Spirit of the Lake more sustainable each year. This year, Infinite West incorporated the Zero Waste concept in which everything from the event is re-used, recycled or composted. Local restaurants will be providing local, organic food; and, with the use of a mobile solar plant donated by local solar company Simply Efficient, the Grand Lake Brewfest is the first fully solar-powered beer festival of its kind. There will be several craft beers to taste, live music and family-friendly activities.
For those wishing to participate, the regatta is primarily designed for traditional rowing shells, stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and classic wooden dories & wherries.
"However, we felt strongly that this regatta should be open to all," says Hodsdon, "so, you can pretty much show up with anything that floats and a paddle to enter the race."
To add to the fun, there will be a Mayor's Challenge Cup and organizers warn to keep an eye out for the "Dragons" which will delight every age group.
To learn more or to register for the race, go to spiritlakeregatta.com. Come prepared to celebrate the spirit of the water.
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