Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance member Anne Chopyak addresses the Upshur County Commission at its meeting Thursday morning.

BUCKHANNON – Buckhannon Riverfest looks to raise awareness about keeping water clean while encouraging residents to have fun.

Riverfest is Saturday, Aug. 31 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Elizabeth J. “Binky” Poundstore Memorial Riverwalk.

Kevin Campbell, a member of the Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance, said at Thursday’s Upshur County Commission meeting the event will feature live music from the Elk River Ramblers and the Sam Nesbitt Band. In addition, water-based organizations – including the Buckhannon Water Department, Sanitary Department, W.Va. Department of Environmental protection, W.Va. Department of Natural Resources, West Virginia Rivers Coalition and the Institute for Water Security and Science at West Virginia University.

“What we’re trying to draw attention to, is that only 1 percent of the water on the planet is actually available to us, and we all have to share that 1 percent,” Campbell said.

Kevin Campbell talks to Upshur commissioners at Thursday’s meeting.

Campbell said there will be several actives to take part in, including floats led by Day Trippin Adventures starting at 9:30 a.m. Day Trippin Adventures will also offer $27 kayak rental for teens and adults and tubes for kids to use at the dock. People may also bring their own kayaks for a $10 fee. There will be food vendors, face painting, yoga, speakers and an interfaith water blessing afterward.

“People should bring water that is special to them for the ceremony, perhaps from their homestead, camp or a favorite vacation spot, or even just from the tap,” Campbell said. “This is meant to honor our water, reminding us that it is precious and in need of protection.”

A new addition to Riverfest is a planned tour of the City of Buckhannon’s Water Department at 3 p.m.

“We think of water as a commodity, something we can use for our purposes. But it’s also one of the most basic building blocks of life and is absolutely necessary it,” Campbell said. “There are thousands of chemicals that can make their way into our water, things we can’t see or smell that causes all kinds of problems.”

Anne Chopyak, also a member of the Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance, said it’s important appreciate and protect the potable water we have before it’s too late.

“We must respect and honor the water we have in order to protect any semblance of the quality of life we now enjoy,” Chopyak said. “It will change dramatically if we don’t do that.”

To chip in for the cost of Riverfest or for updated information, visit the Mountain Lakes Preservation Alliance website at www.mountainlakespreservation.org.