Porterhouse Productions and Bay Area Recycling for Charities are partnering up to launch the first annual Great Wakes Festival June 1 and 2 in downtown Traverse City. The festival will focus on raising funds and awareness for water-focused non-profits, supporting efforts to protect and keep clean the region’s rivers, streams and lakes and offering a wide variety of water-themed activities and entertainment throughout the weekend. Festival proceeds, which will be distributed by Bay Area Recycling for Charities, will help benefit local non-profit organizations focused on water-related causes.
Highlights of this huge bayfront festival will include the country’s largest self-contained wakeboarding pool system in downtown’s Open Space, featuring professional wakeboarding demonstrations and a Wakes War Tournament Cup with local and professional riders; paddle, kayak, and kiteboarding demonstrations and displays; boating displays and events; delicious water themed food court and soda jerk ice cream stations; water education activities; family-friendly games and events; a teen zone featuring a silent disco tent and activities produced by local student-run Youth Union; a community aerial art display project in partnership with GoodWill Industries of Northern Michigan (creating a large-scale image, when photographed from above, of the Great Lakes using volunteers, two tons of blue jeans and recycled materials); Coast Guard helicopter tours and search-and-rescue demonstrations; a competitive stand-up paddleboarding race down the Boardman River; a Great Wakes beach volleyball tournament (which will help raise funds for new beach sand for the West End volleyball courts); the first annual Traverse City Beach Race (organized in partnership with the Traverse City March of Dimes); local beach and water clean-up; and regional partner events, including the Grand Traverse Area Sport Fishing Association 2012 Trout Derby.
Festival tents on-site during the weekend will highlight award-winning Michigan microbrews and wines, as well as local food and local and national music on multiple stages.