brflogoThis weekend—July 25 and July 26 from 6 to 11 p.m. at Whiskey Island’s Historic Coast Guard Station in Cleveland, OH—marks the 2014 Burning River Fest, which celebrates the vitality of Northeast Ohio’s freshwater resources, including Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga River. Presented by the Great Lakes Brewing Company to benefit the Burning River Foundation, a local non-profit organization that provides resources for the sustainable future of our waterways, the Burning River Fest, in remembrance of the 1969 burning of the Cuyahoga River, celebrates the renewed sense of eco-consciousness the infamous fire inspired and raises awareness about environmental issues affecting the Great Lakes region. 

“The goal of the foundation is to make the fest the preeminent environmental festival in the country by 2019—the 50th anniversary of the infamous fire on the Cuyahoga River, which prompted the federal clean water act legislation,” Great Lakes Brewing Company co-owner and co-founder of the Burning River Foundation Patrick Conway said.

“Each year at the fest, the community celebrates how far we have come in restoring our fresh water resources. To date, we have raised close to $400,000 that’s given back to groups that work in the area of water quality. As the fest grows, the foundation will use the increased proceeds to fund even more efforts to improve, maintain and celebrate the vitality of those resources.”

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Great Lakes Brewing Company co-owner and co-founder of the Burning River Foundation Patrick Conway with 5 Gyres research director Marcus Eriksen at last year’s Burning River Fest. Photo credit: Stefanie Spear

This year’s festival features Plastic Waters: From the Great Lakes to the Oceans, a unique exhibit that shows the harmful effects of plastic pollution in our oceans and lakes that inspires solutions that can sustain these waters. The Burning River Foundation helped fund the 5 Gyres Institute to create this traveling exhibition to document and disseminate the findings of the organizations research.

To kick-off the Cleveland debut of Plastic Waters: From the Great Lakes to the Oceans, the Alliance for the Great Lakes and Burning River Foundation are leading an Adopt-a-Beach cleanup at Wendy Park, on July 25 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., with the Great Lakes Science Center’s Great Science Academy Adopt-a-Beach team. The event is open to the public and all are invited to join in the cleanup.

“The Burning River Foundation is thrilled to kick off this year’s Burning River Fest with these great activities coordinated by two of our grant recipients,” said Linda M. Mayer, environmental education specialist at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District and Burning River Foundation board member. “We aim to educate attendees at the fest about the importance of their support, and it helps for them to see the impact organizations such as the 5 Gyres Institute and the Alliance for the Great Lakes are making to preserve our freshwater resources firsthand.” 

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This weekend marks the 2014 Burning River Fest in Cleveland, OH. Photo credit: Burning River Foundation

In addition to artifacts that demonstrate the negative impact of plastics, the Plastic Waters exhibit highlights the positive work of the Alliance for the Great Lakes’ Adopt-a-Beach program where nearly 13,000 volunteers help reduce plastic pollution by clearing litter and collecting data at Great Lakes shorelines each year. 

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